By Kian Karamdashti
The Foresters continued to ride their run of excellent pitching as they cruised to a 4-1 win over the Arroyo Seco Saints on Saturday. Stater Luke Taggart led the way with six strong innings, while the offense did its job with a four-run fourth. Santa Barbara moves to 6-2 on the season.
The main storyline of the game was the performance of Taggart, who showed improved control of his offspeed arsenal while lasting six innings, the longest stretch for a ’Sters starter so far this summer.
“I felt real comfortable coming into the game,” said Taggart. “I’ve been really working on increasing my depth with my offspeed pitches going into next spring. This was probably the first night I’ve been able to throw all three offspeed pitches well which is a plus. With the six-inning outing, I’m definitely going to stretch out a little bit and keep my feel going.”
Early on, the signs pointed to a pitchers; duel until the bottom of the fourth inning, when the Sters’ bats came alive. DH Zach Presno started the run party as he drove in C Ross Cadena with an RBI single. This was followed by a rally that included RBIs from Conor Mckenna, Tevin Tucker, and Ryan Cash.
“We strung some good at-bats together but we also ran the bases really well,” said manager Bill Pintard. “We had a lot of first-to-thirds, we met four out of five of our hitting goals for the game, and when you string that together with our pitching performances, it’s great.”
Even with a four-run cushion, Taggart ran into some problems the following two innings. In the fifth, he faced runners at second and third with only one out. He responded by inducing a pop out and fly out to get out of the jam.
“We had scored the half-inning before that and we definitely needed another zero on that board,” said Taggart. “I just had to lock it in and get that fly ball which I got.”
The following inning Taggart was able to overcome back-to-back doubles with a ground out to end his outing with only one run allowed.
“Taggart was great today,” said Pintard. “He wants to be a starter and we are going to keep starting him. The only two mistakes he made came from breaking balls late in his pitch count.”
Taggart was quick to praise the continued success of his bullpen. He had a lot to choose from—Christian Winston pitched a 1-2-3 seventh; Brock Helverson’s eighth was scoreless; and Ryan Bergert struck out the side in the ninth for the save.
The Foresters will end their homestand against the Orange County Riptide tomorrow at Pershing Park. First pitch is scheduled tomorrow for 2:00 pm on AM 1290.