| August 5, 2022
(SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA) – The San Luis Obispo Blues entered Friday’s opening game needing a victory to stay alive. And that’s exactly what they got, as a late-game comeback lifted the Blues to a dramatic 4-3 tenth-inning win over the Walnut Creek Crawdads.
Pitching was king early in Friday morning’s game, as the teams combined for five K’s and only two baserunners through the first two frames. Crawdads’ starter Mark Perkins (Rice) struck out eight and relinquished two hits in 7.0 innings. His counterpart Cameron Mabee (Illinois State) ended his 7.0 innings on the hill with seven strikeouts, six hits and three earned runs.
Crawdads’ second baseman Taison Corio (Cal Poly SLO), shortstop Cameron Calvillo (Ohlone College) and first baseman Brian DuRoff (Chabot College) helped keep the contest scoreless, putting together a 4-6-3 double play to end the first.
Blues’ first baseman Zachary Toglia (Utah) picked up the game’s first hit in the bottom of the fifth, extending the inning with a single.
Walnut Creek’s offense came to life during the next frame as Joseph Barnhardt (San Joaquin Delta College) and Coleman Schmidt (St. Mary’s) recorded consecutive base knocks. The ‘Dads finally broke through when DuRoff and Joey Donelly (UC Berkeley) singled and doubled respectively to bring in a run each and give the visitors a 2-0 advantage.
In the seventh inning, Schmidt smacked an RBI double into the center, scoring Cummings and extending the Crawdads’ lead to 3-0.
But San Luis Obispo battled back during the eighth, as Cole Gabrielson (USC) was hit by a pitch and Jake Simons (CSU – Northridge) doubled. Chase Gallegos (UNLV) then logged a double of his own, driving in two runs and narrowing the Crawdads’ lead to one. However, Walnut Creek’s defense then picked up three consecutive outs to stay ahead by a run.
With their backs against the wall in the ninth frame, the Blues continued rally when Kody Darcy (UTSA) reached via a single and capitalized on an error by ‘Dad’s third baseman Ryan Ellis (St. Mary’s) to reach second. Down to their final out, Gabrielson slammed an 0-1 pitch from Crawdads’ closer Gabe Tanner (Chabot College) into center field, scoring Darcy and sending the contest to extra innings.
The Blues’ left fielder said that keeping things simple allowed him to pick up the game-tying hit.
“Coming up in the ninth inning, two outs, obviously with a runner on second, not trying to do too much. First pitch I got I could handle and fouled it straight back, and kind of had an idea he [Tanner] was going to give me something to hit,” Gabrielson said. “And he left a slider up, put a good swing on it... I’m just glad I could pull through for my guys...”
With Casey Cummings as Walnut Creek’s ghost runner in the tenth, Jack Ben-Shoshan (Rice) was dinged by a pitch. However, Coleman Schmidt knocked a line drive right into the glove of Blues shortstop (name), who then tagged second base to complete a timely double play and keep the game tied.
In the tail-end of the inning, Jake Simons, the Blues’ extra inning runner, stole third before a wild pitch by Walnut Creek pitcher Noah Nordell (San Joaquin Delta College) allowed him to cross the dish, seal win the and keep his team in the tournament.
A big reason why the Blues remained within striking distance on Friday was reliever Kevin Lyons (CSU – Chico). Through 3.0 innings of work, the right-hander picked up a strikeout and walked a single Crawdad, and stated that his goal was to simply hold the opposition off the board.
“At that point when I went in, it was just ‘put up zeros and let the team make their way back into this game.’ We thought we were going to do it in the eighth, ended up doing it in the ninth... pretty happy because we played well today,” said Lyons.
When asked about his team’s mindset heading into their next game against the Riptide, San Luis Obispo manager Bob Miller said he expects the Blues to continue battling through adversity, something they’ve done for most of the season.
“It’s been a scrappy team for most of the year. We’ve hit a lot of roadblocks, but we’ve battled through those and look forward to the opportunity to continue to play and what the next game presents here for us, so we’re excited about doing it,” explained Miller.
While the Crawdads will head home after dropping two straight games, the Blues will face Orange County for the second contest of the day at 2:30 p.m. PST. Stay up-to-date on all the action by following the CCL’s Twitter and Instagram accounts, or tune into the league’s YouTube broadcast.
Impact Player of the Game: Cole Gabrielson (USC)
1-3, 1 R, 1 RBI
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