Jul 25, 2013 1:02 AM by Andrew Masuda
A three-run rally that started with two outs and nobody on fueled a 4-1 victory for the Santa Barbara Foresters over the host San Luis Obispo Blues on Wednesday night in a key California Collegiate League game.
The 5th ranked Foresters regained sole possession of first place from the Blues by one game and even the three game series. Santa Barbara is 21-13 in CCL action, while the Blues are 20-14 headed into Thursday's series finale. The two rivals shared the title in 2011 and 2012. Both teams have two games left in the regular season.
Santa Barbara left-hander Louie Lechich from the University of San Diego and Blues righty Corey Ray out of Texas A&M were locked in a pitchers' duel through 3 innings. In the top of the fourth, Ryan O'Hearn doubled to the left-center field gap and scored on a RBI single by Austin Darby, a senior from Nebraska to give the Foresters a 1-0 lead.
Then in the fifth, after Ray retired the first two hitters, Garrett Mattlage hit a shot off Ray that caromed to second baseman Blake Allemand, who's barehand pick up and throw to first appeared to get Mattlage. But the first base umpire ruled first baseman Kyle Johnson's foot was off the bag, so Mattlage was safe. Joey Epperson followed and drew a walk. O'Hearn, Shane Hoelscher and Michael Aquino each clubbed RBI-singles to capitalize on the call at first base. The Foresters built a 4-0 lead behind Lechich, who finished with 5 1/3 shutout innings.
Willie Kuhl and Tejay Antone went the final 3 1/3 innings to seal the win. Kuhl escaped jams in the sixth and seventh innings. Antone allowed 1-run and 1 hit in the ninth inning.
Ray was tagged with the loss after allowing 4 runs and 8 hits in 5 innings. He fanned 7. John Marc Shelly threw 3 shutout innings of relief with 5 strikeouts. Christian Coronado struck out 2 in a scoreless ninth for the Blues.
O'Hearn, Mattlage and Darby had 2 hits each to lead the Foresters' 9-hit attack. Cal Poly senior-to-be Jimmy Allen recorded half of the Blues' 6 hits with a 3 for 4 effort at the plate, including a double. Blake Allemand added 2 hits.
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