One day after clinching first place in the California Collegiate League, the Santa Barbara Foresters failed to maintain that momentum in a 6-2 loss to the Arroyo Seco Saints on Saturday night.
The Saints feasted on the Foresters’ bullpen after being held without a base runner through five innings.
“We just didn’t make good pitches when we had to,” said Foresters head coach Bill Pintard. “We gave up that home run in the (fifth inning) on a pitch right down the middle and we got to be a little bit more competitive than that.”
The Santa Barbara offense found its rhythm early in the bottom of the first inning. Dru Baker led off the inning with a double and advanced to third on a bunt single by Ross Cadena. The next batter, Christian Franklin grounded into a double play, but Baker was able to score from third, giving the Foresters a 1-0 lead
Foresters starting pitcher Luke Taggert was flawless in his four innings on the mound as he retired the Saints in order with six strikeouts.
Unfortunately for Santa Barbara, Taggert was on a strict pitch limit and was relieved by Kevin Larson to begin the top of the fifth inning. Larson picked up where Taggert left off in the top of the fifth inning by recording three quick outs and the Foresters entered the sixth inning with the combined perfect game still intact.
The Foresters went from chasing perfection to clinging to a 1-0 lead after a two-out double to left-center field by Christian Scott. The next batter, Anthony Forte, walked setting the stage for Morgan Allen, who blasted a three-run homer, giving Arroyo Seco a 3-1 lead.
“It wasn’t the type of performance that we’re used to here,” Pintard said, “We’ve been performing much better out of the bullpen and tonight we had a 1-0 lead and didn’t do anything about it.”
With the Foresters trailing 3-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning Cadena answered with a solo homer that cut the deficit to 3-2, but that’s all Santa Barbara could muster offensively.
Arroyo Seco tacked on one run in the top of the seventh on a solo homer by Nikolas Pagan and two more runs in the top of the ninth to put the game away.
The Saints starting pitcher Trevor Beer, who hail from UCSB and will likely have an increased role next season held the Foresters to two runs on four hits with seven strike out in six innings on the mound.
Santa Barbara will host the MLB Academy Barons Sunday, beginning at 2 p.m.