Saints’ Offense Stays Red Hot in 16-3 Win Against ConejoBy Arroyo Seco Saints July 16, 2023 11:45am
PASADENA, CA – Winning the opening matchup 16-3 in a two-game series against the Oaks, the Arroyo Seco Saints have outscored their opponents 36-4 en route to a three-game winning streak. While the Saints struggled to muster together a complete performance before the CCL Showcase game, the team has found their rhythm this week.
CCL Showcase game selection Peyton Cariaco (Kent State) started the game on the mound for the Saints. In search of his second win of the season, the left-hander did what needed to be done. After throwing two scoreless innings to start the game, run support for the Saints’ starter came in the third.
With two outs in the bottom of the third, a Jared Quandt (Hawaii) single kept the inning alive. After a costly error by the Oaks defense, Quandt was able to score on a ground ball off the bat 0f Connor Bradshaw (Pepperdine). Max Blessinger (Belmont) would extend the inning with a single, leading to Jordan Rogers (Wichita State) driving in two more; Rogers’ double into left centerfield scored Bradshaw and Blessinger.
Now pitching with a 3-2 lead, Cariaco stepped back onto the mound in the fourth and shut the Oaks offense down, striking out two batters in the top half of the inning.
Stepping back up to the plate, the Saints offense exploded. With two on and one out, Jared Quandt would find the barrel of his bat again, this time for extra bases. His double would score one, followed by Connor Bradshaw’s double that would score two, and Max Blessinger’s double that would score one.
Three straight RBI doubles by the Saints offense extended their lead to five, now leading 7-2. Unfortunately for the Oaks, the Saints were just getting started in the inning.
Following the doubles, Alex Birge (Wichita State) would reach base after getting hit by a pitch, and Raider Tello (Iowa) roped a single into the outfield, scoring Blessinger. With five runs in and two more on base, the Saints had officially batted around in the inning, bringing Preston Godfrey (New Mexico State) back up to the plate.
With two outs in the inning, Godfrey sent a drive deep into centerfield. While Birge and Tello got great jumps right off the sound of the bat, the two were able to cruise into home plate smoothly as Godfrey’s ball cleared the centerfield fence. The 392-foot blast was Godfrey’s first home run of the Summer.
With plenty of run support behind him, Cariaco finished his fifth inning of work with an 11-3 lead, leaving plenty of cushion for Saints’ relievers to finish the job. Calvin Bickerstaff (Kent State), his college teammate, took over for the left-hander.
In his first two innings of work in the sixth and seventh, Bickerstaff struck out two and allowed no runs. On the flip side, the Saints found the scoreboard in both innings.
After another Alex Birge walk and a double by Raider Tello, the Saints were right back in business in the sixth. Preston Godfrey, already with three RBIs, returned to the batter’s box. The Saints’ left-fielder hit one into left field. At first, it looked like the Oaks’ outfielder had a good read on the fly ball, but Godfrey’s hit carried in the California Summer air, landing safely near the warning track. Birge and Tello would score once again off the bat of Preston Godfrey, upping his RBI total to five in this game alone.
Godfrey credited his head coach when asked about what led to his breakout performance in this game.
“Coach Milam has been helping me with the mental side of the game, making some physical adjustments too.”
In the seventh, with runners on the corners and two outs, Alex Birge smacked his third triple of the season. Showing off the speed he has been preaching all season, Birge cleared the bases, driving in the Saints’ fifteenth and sixteenth runs of the ballgame.
Calvin Bickerstaff would replicate his success from his first two innings pitched into his final two innings. The right-hander threw a no-hit eighth and ninth inning for the Saints, finishing this game off for the Saints.
In his final game of the Summer, the Ohio native reflected on the relationships he has built in Pasadena.
“This team means everything to me,” said Bickerstaff. “It’s just a great group of guys, and that’s what Summer ball is about. It’s a lot of fun out here, and I’m going to miss it for sure”.
While the Saints will undoubtedly miss Bickerstaff and some other guys they have seen go this Summer, their goal remains clear: make a run at a CCL State Championship. Playing arguably their best baseball of the season, the team looks to keep momentum rolling in Sunday’s matchup against the Oaks. First pitch in Thousand Oaks is set for 1:00 p.m. PST.
Tune into the matchup live on our Youtube Channel!
- Saints Reporter Bennett Snyder (Ohio University)
- Saints Photographer Sonny Tapia (Cal State Long Beach)