by Nate Loop
The Foresters are starting to get on a roll. The pitchers are giving up runs few and far between, the scoreboard looking like strings of binary code. The batters are jumping on bad pitches, stealing bases, and taking advantage of mistakes to put up runs. All of this adds up to the Foresters third win in a row, as they take the first out of two games against the Southern California Halos by a score 0f 6-0.
The pitching staff has looked better with each passing game. On Sunday, they were one out from a shutout. Tuesday, three outs away. Today, 27 outs recorded without a Halo finding its way back to home plate.
The Foresters got down to business right away in the first inning. Taylor Stell led off the game with a single. Plucheck then came up and worked a nice hit-and-run with Stell, who moved to third on the single. Cal Vogelsang reached on an error by Halos third baseman David Trejo, allowing Stell to score and Plucheck to move to third. A groundout from Ryan O’Hearn moved Plucheck across home plate, and just like that the ‘Sters were up 2-0.
Ian McCarthy, a returning Forester who plies his trade at USC, was magnificent in his five innings of work. McCarthy retired the first 11 batters in a row, then allowed his pitching counterpart Allen Gwynn to eke out a modest grounder. The ball dribbled down the third base line, and third baseman Robert Vickers could not make the throw in time, ending the string of perfection from McCarthy.
His fastball and cutter was alive and well today, and the righty moved his pitches all around the strike zone, painting the black like a Rolling Stone. He racked up four strikeouts and allowed just two hits.
The ‘Sters added a run in the fourth inning thanks to catcher Jacob Felts, to go up 3-0. Felts reached on an error, moved to second on a wild pitch, stole third, and then scored on another error.
The Halos committed four errors on the day, in direct contrast of the ‘Sters, who went a game without an error for second time this season.
In the fifth, the Foresters added two runs thanks to somewhat of a freak play. Vogelsang singled and moved to second on a wild pitch. Felts then came up, and smacked a line drive to left-center field, that the Halos center fielder had a tough time with and ended up injuring himself on the play. Felts took this opportunity to race all 360 feet back to home plate, for the rare inside-the-park home run.
The ‘Sters did their final bit of damage with the bats in the 8th inning. elts doubled off the wall and then came around to score on a two-out single by Kaeo Aliviado, making the score 6-0 to the Foresters.
Hunter Lemke came in to pitch the ninth inning, tasked with securing the ‘Sters first combined shutout of the season. He allowed a couple of hits, but got the final outs by inducing a double play ground ball, and the Foresters were sent home with a 6-0 two-hit shutout in their pockets.
McCarthy collected his third win on the year for the ‘Sters, and lowered his ERA to a microscopic 0.56.
At the plate, Jacob Felts continued his sizzling start to the summer, finishing 2 for 4, with 3 runs scored and 2 RBIs.
The Foresters are now 6-5 on the season, and will play their second game against the Halos tomorrow afternoon at 5:10 p.m at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.