Saints Bounce Back in CCL Play With 13-1 Win Against BluesBy Arroyo Seco Saints July 14, 2023 02:01pm
PASADENA, CA – After a frustrating series against the Riptide for Saints fans and players, the team found their rhythm against the Blues Thursday night. The previous series against the Riptide featured a game where the Saints had their best pitching performance of the season and lost, and their best hitting performance in another game and lost. Well, Thursday night at Jackie Robinson Memorial Field, they put everything together for a complete team victory.
Success in this matchup all started with pitching for the Saints. In his fifth start of the season, Carter Herrera (Cal St San Bernardino) had his most impressive outing yet. After two shut-down innings, Herrera watched a throwing error turn into life and opportunity for the Blues’ offense. We’ve seen the right-hander have outings ruined by defensive mistakes; he surely was not going to let that happen tonight.
While one run did come around the bases in the third, Herrera finished his outing with six innings pitched, no earned runs, no hits allowed, and four strikeouts.
“I was just going after hitters with my fastball,” said Herrera. “I would mix in a cutter occasionally, and then I would throw a changeup too that would get a lot of swings and misses.”
While Herrera may have had Blues’ batters swinging and missing in this matchup, the Arroyo Seco Saints certainly showed up intending to put some runs on the board.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the first inning, Mason Hammonds (Tarleton State) put the Saints on the board first in one. Hammonds’ hard-hit ball to short resulted in an error, allowing Max Blessinger (Belmont) to score.
While the Saints did swing the bat exceptionally well in this game, they also took advantage of the numerous errors by the Blues’ defense; San Luis Obispo tallied five errors.
Runs came in the second inning as well. After a leadoff single by Jack Hammond (Long Beach State) and a double by Julian Alvarez (Cal Baptist), the Saints had two runners in scoring position with no outs in the inning. Hammond would score on a sacrifice fly, while Alvarez would touch home off a single by Jordan Rogers (Wichita State).
“I’m pretty confident; I feel like lately I’ve simplified a lot of things,” said Rogers. “It’s just see ball, hit ball, and compete in every at-bat.”
Moving forward into the fourth inning, Max Blessinger and Raider Tello (Iowa), two of the Saints’ showcase selections, both delivered. Blessinger’s double would bring in the team’s fourth run for the game, and Tello would later drive in Blessinger. Tello continues to be red hot this Summer, extending his CCL hit streak to ten games.
In the fifth, more runs came across for the home team. Another Jordan Rogers single would drive in Julian Alvarez, then the errors took over in this inning. With Rogers and Connor Bradshaw (Pepperdine) on base with two outs in the inning, Raider Tello added to his hit total with a single. What seemed like a routine single, likely scoring a run regardless turned into a makeshift inside-the-park home run for Tello. A fielding error by the center fielder and a throwing error by the pitcher allowed Tello to turn on the burners and touch all four bases.
The Saints would score in their third consecutive inning in the sixth, adding three more runs. Jack Hammond would drive in Mason Hammonds on a fielder’s choice to bring in the inning’s first run. Then, Max Blessinger would deliver once again. His two RBI single would score Chase Meggers (Oregon) and Julian Alvarez.
We first saw the Saints’ bullpen in the seventh inning. Hayden Lewis (Arizona) continues to dominate in his relief sessions. Lewis hasn’t allowed a run in his four most recent appearances. In this game, Lewis contributed a scoreless seventh inning, striking out two batters in the process.
While the Saints went to the bullpen after six innings, they also began making substitutions in the field with a comfortable 12-1 lead.
In the eighth, Roberto Gonzalez (CSUN) and Jared Quandt (Hawaii) reached base safely after being hit by pitches. This led to the Saints’ dugout sharing how they felt about that with the Blues, which the home plate umpire did not take kindly to. While some will look at the number of Saints ejected in this game, the team will choose to focus on how much they are willing to back each other up when the going gets tough.
Roberto Gonzalez would later score in the eight on a Mason Hammonds RBI single, extending the lead to 13-1
Finishing this game on the mound for the Saints was Aiden Vanvickle (Longwood). The right-hander pitched the final two innings for the Saints, allowing only one hit and striking out five batters.
A 13-1 victory is exactly what the Saints needed following their short break from CCL play. They look to pile together a few more complete efforts to end the week.
The Saints are back in action Friday at 6:05 p.m. PST in San Luis Obispo for their final game in a two-game series against the Blues.
Tune into the matchup live on our Youtube Channel!
- Saints Reporter Bennett Snyder (Ohio University)
- Saints Photographer Sonny Tapia (Cal State Long Beach)