Jul 24, 2013 1:00 AM by Andrew Masuda
A strange, five-run eighth inning propelled the San Luis Obispo Blues into a tie for first place with a 6-1 win over rival Santa Barbara on Tuesday night to open an important three game series that'll likely determine the California Collegiate League title.
The 9th ranked Blues improved to 20-13 in CCL games and 36-15 overall. They also snapped a five game losing skid to Santa Barbara. The 5th ranked Foresters fell to 20-13 in league and 31-12 for the season.
The Blues struck first on a RBI single from Cody Jones in the bottom of the first inning. Behind starter Andrew Lee, who threw 5 shutout innings of 1 hit ball with 6 strikeouts, the Blues still led 1-0 after 7 innings.
But in the eighth, Santa Barbara's Shane Hoelscher hit a lead off home run to left field against Blake Whitter to tie it 1-1.
Things really got interesting in the bottom of the eighth. Derek Miller led off with a single to center field. He took off for second and Michael Pritchard swung away and reached first on catcher's interference. Aaron Attaway was hit in the head with a pitch to load the bases with nobody out. Attaway stayed in the game. Kyle Johnson drew a bases loaded walk to force in Miller and give the Blues a 2-1 lead. Cal Poly senior-to-be Jimmy Allen followed with a smash basehit off the third baseman to score Pritchard to make it a 3-1 game. Sean Ullrich later drew another bases loaded walk to force in Attaway to give the Blues a 4-1 lead. Will Maddox capped the five-run inning with a 2-run single to left-center field.
Closer Drake Owenby struck out the side in the ninth to earn the save for the Blues. Whitter was credited with the victory. The loss went to Santa Barbara's Willie Kuhl, who was charged with 2 runs in 1-plus inning of relief. Santa Barbara Manager Bill Pintard used four pitchers in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Lefty Tyler King threw 2 shutout innings of relief for the Blues with 2 strikeouts. Four Blues pitchers limited the Foresters to 3 hits.
The rivals, who shared the CCL titles in 2011 and 2013, meet for the second game of the three game series tomorrow night at San Luis Obispo Baseball Stadium at 6 p.m.
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