By Kian Karamdashti
A comfortable Sunday afternoon at Pershing Park translated to a comfortable 7-1 win for the Foresters over the San Luis Obispo Blues. The win was highlighted by five strong innings from starter Brooks Fuller and an impressive 5-for-5 day for Eric Kennedy.
Fuller, making his third start of the year, didn’t have the smoothest start to the game. Two straight infield singles and a passed ball started the first inning, but a strong Ross Cadena throw prevented a stolen base, allowing Fuller to retire the remaining batters. Fuller would go on to pitch five strong innings, allowing five hits with one earned run, no walks, and five strikeouts. The rest of the bullpen, a combination of Nico O’Donnell, Isaac Coffey, Jacob Burton and Conner Woods, would take care of business the rest of the day, closing the door on any sniff of another Blues run.
“Fuller was really good,” said manager Bill Pintard.”All our guys that we brought in, were hitting around 90 MPH, and we were hitting around the zone.”
After going down 1-0 in the top of the second inning, the Foresters, as they have done so often this year, came roaring back, courtesy of leadoff man Kennedy’s RBI double bringing home Spencer Jones, who got on with a leadoff single. Kennedy himself had a big day, with three singles, a double, a triple, and two RBI’s. All with a bandage covering his chin after cutting it sliding headfirst earlier in the week.
“The guys have been calling me Chinstrap,” said Kennedy. “It’s definitely got some knocks in it since I’ve been hitting well since I got it.”
While Kennedy may have got the hit parade going, the turning point may have come from first baseman Zach Presno in the fifth inning. After missing two offspeed pitches by a substantial distance early in the at bat, Presno battled back to a full count, where he promptly knocked a two-run shot to left, increasing the score to 5-1.
“He was looking offspeed up and just missed the first two,” said Pintard. “But he didn’t waver, and he knew he was going to get another breaking ball.”
Dru Baker was also a problem for the Blues’ pitching staff, going 3-for-5 with two RBI’s. Baker, a sophomore from Texas Tech that arrived in Santa Barbara just last week, was seeing the ball well as he put good contact on multiple swings.
“I thought Dru was great today as well,” said Pintard. “I know it says he went 3-for-5, but he was 4-for-5 regarding hard hit balls.
With a comfortable 7-1 lead in the bottom of the eighth, Kennedy went into his last at bat needing a home run to complete the cycle. He had to settle for another single after taking two big hacks on his first two strikes.
“We were hoping he hit one out of here,” said Pintard. “He’s our a leadoff guy, a plus runner, he drives in runs with fly balls, ground balls, whatever the situation dictates. He’s leading the league in hitting. He’s our spark plug, man. He’s doing a hell of a job.”
The Foresters look to extend their winning streak Thursday July 11 at the Arroyo Seco Saints. First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 pm on AM 1290.