Jul 26, 2013 12:25 AM by Andrew Masuda
Mississippi State pitcher Trevor Fitts struck out 12 in an electrifying performance as the San Luis Obispo Blues beat Santa Barbara 5-1 on Thursday to force a tie for first place with one game to go in the regular season.
Both teams are 21-14 in California Collegiate League standings. The 9th ranked Blues close out the regular season Friday night at home against Conejo, while the 5th ranked Foresters host Santa Paula.
Cal Poly senior-to-be Jimmy Allen delivered a 2-out single to score Blake Allemand in the first inning to give the Blues a 1-0 lead. They rallied again in the third when Will Maddox walked and Allemand reached on an error. After Aaron Attaway grounded out to second to advance both runners, Mike Pritchard hit a check-swing basehit to center field. Maddox scored and Allemand headed home, but was called out by the umpire, who ruled the catcher tagged him out with a swipe tag as he ran by him. Blues manager Chal Fanning argued the call and threw his helmet down in disgust. SLO still led 2-0.
Fitt allowed just 4 hits and walked one in 7 stellar innings. The right-hander got into trouble in the sixth when he loaded the bases with nobody out. However, he struck out Joey Epperson, Ryan O'Hearn and Louie Lechich, the Foresters' 3,4 and 5 hitters, in succession to get out of the jam.
The Blues carried that momentum in the bottom half with a 3-run sixth inning to make it a 5-0 game. Andrew Lee hit a fly ball to left-center field that should've been caught and gone for a sacrifice fly. Instead, the left fielder gave way to the center fielder, who couldn't catch it and Pritchard scored on the error. Daniel Garner followed with an infield single to plate Allen and give the Blues a 4-0 lead. Cuesta's Zach Dominguez clubbed a sacrifice fly to center to score Lee to cap the 3-run inning.
Allemand, Allen and Pritchard each collected 2 hits for the Blues in the victory.
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