Entering Friday night with a game and a half lead over the Santa Paula Halos, the Santa Barbara Foresters fell short of extending their lead and tying their season-high win streak at eight, losing 5-4.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Foresters rallied to bring the crowd to their feet after entering down 5-3.
After a pinch hitting Austin Darby grounded out, Steven Reveles worked a single and stole second before Colt Atwood drove him in with a single to bring the Foresters within one. Atwood stole second before Garrett Mattlage walked to put men on first and second with one out, down one.
However, Joey Epperson struck out and Ryan O’Hearn, the Foresters’ hottest batter, flew out out to center field to end the game.
Santa Barbara jumped out to an early 3-0 lead as eight men came to the plate against Halo starter Tre’ Haliburton-Goeas. Colt Atwood reached on an infield single and Garrett Mattlage bunt singled to put men on first and second.
Joey Epperson singled in Mattlage and moved to second on an error by Halo center fielder Ryan Xepoleas. The red hot Ryan O’Hearn walked to load the bases before Ben Johnson and Louie Lechich scored runs on a sacrifice fly and ground out.
Drew Van Orden threw five and a third innings, striking out four while walking just one and allowing one hit. A victim of a poor defense behind him, Van Orden left the game having allowed three unearned runs thanks to four errors on the Foresters.
Van Orden’s only struggles came in the fifth inning as the Halos scored a pair to draw the game closer. With a man on first due to a Steven Reveles’ error, the Duke right-hander walked a man and allowed his only hit, a RBI double by Colton Waltner. Another run came home on ground out and the Halos trailed 3-2 at the halfway point.
Willie Kuhl entered the game in the sixth to pick up for Van Orden with two men on. He struck out the first he faced, but allowed a two-out single to Taylor Kahanowitch that tied the score at three.
Austen Williams entered in the seventh, striking out one in his scoreless inning. Justin Rahn opened the eighth, but allowed a double and was removed for Nick Kern. Kern induced a pair of groundouts, but a run came home and was credited to Rahn. The Halos pushed another across as Jordan Brower, who had reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second with no one looking and came home after two wild pitches by Kern.
Tejay Antone entered in the ninth to try to hold the Halos to a two run lead,