Leadoff batter Christian Franklin electrified the Pershing Park crowd with a home run to straight away center field in his first at bat of the summer and the Foresters rolled to an 8-0 victory over the San Luis Obispo Blues on Thursday night.
Despite piling up victories thus far this season the Foresters have lacked power at the plate having only hit two home runs as a team coming into Thursday’s contest, but Franklin set a different tone that seemed to reverberate throughout the team.
“It felt really good, especially to get here with a new team, new guys, kind of a new environment and just to lead off with a homerun was good to show these guys I can help contribute to the team in any way,” said Franklin of his leadoff homerun.
Franklin and his two University of Arkansas teammates, pitchers Elijah Trest and Jacob Burton, recently joined the Foresters after a run to the College World Series. Franklin’s hitting proved to be contagious and the pitchers each tossed a scoreless inning out of the bullpen.
The Foresters added one run in the bottom of the third when Blake Hall tripled to right center bringing home Ryan Cash. In the Bottom of the fourth inning, Conor McKenna flashed some power of his own with a two-run homer that increased the Foresters lead to 4-0.
“If you go through the lineup the hard hit balls we had tonight are at the top for our season so far,” said Foresters head coach Bill Pintard. “We had a big outing from McKenna.”
The run support was more than enough for Ryan Bergert, who was making his first start of the summer after dominating out of the bullpen. Bergert held the Blues scoreless in his four innings on the mound, surrendered just two hits and racked up six strikeouts.
“It was pretty good. I just went out there and tried not to think about it too much. I was just pitching my game,” said Bergert of his first start. “It’s the same mentality, just go out there and get out and put up as many zeroes as you can.”
The Foresters broke the game open with four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Ryan Cash highlighted the scoring outburst with a lined single that drove in McKenna and Tevin Tucker.
The Foresters will continue their homes stand Friday against the Ventura Pirates beginning at 6 p.m.