Kim's First Start Breaks Four Game Losing Streak

2015 Catch Game 22 Recap from So. Cal. FCA Baseball on Vimeo.

By: Myles Bridgewater-Jackman, Sports Information Director

Redwood City, Calif. -- After dropping four straight games, the Catch turned to reliever, Jason Kim (Point Park University) for his first start of the season in hope of righting the ship. Kim was phenomenal, much better than his line score would communicate, working through seven complete on 99 pitches.

So. Cal. looked to be in prime position to start the first half inning with a run on the board, but after Richard Cunningham (Baylor University) knocked a leadoff single and reached third with only one out, the threat was neutralized as Troy Nelson set down the next two batters.

The Catch had another opportunity in the fourth when Chance Gusbeth (Cal State Bakersfield) hit a two-out single to left. Cameron Miller (Baylor University) then doubled down to left and Coach Duarte waived Gusbeth home. Unfortunately, Chance was gunned down at the plate to end the inning and the game remained scoreless.

The fifth inning bore four runs for So. Cal. as they were finally able to break the scoreless tie and put themselves ahead of the Legends. Christian Magno (Drury University) lead off the inning with a double down the line and Case Smith (Baylor University) swung at the first pitch of the at bat, singling to right to drive in Magno. Josh Barrick walked to put runners at first and second and two batters later, Cooper Esmay (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) worked his way to the plate. Esmay annihilated a first pitch curveball, sending it up and over the left field wall for a league leading fourth home run of the season. With the tater, the Catch took a 4-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth.

In the meantime, Jason Kim mowed through the Menlo lineup, denying the Legends a base hit hit through four innings of work. Kim, however, would be the victim of good pitches hit in perfect places during the fifth.

Kyle Zirbes lead off the inning by hitting a ball to short and beat out the throw to first for and infield single. During the next at bat, Kim guessed right, with a throw to first, and caught Zirbies off the bag on his way to second. However the throw to first, and the subsequent throw to second, gave Zirbies all the time he needed to slide into second with a stolen base. Kyle Barrett squared up the next pitch and dropped a single into right, allowing the first Legend run to come across the plate.

Matt Dazort followed Barrett’s single with one of his own, an infield knock to short and Tobias Moreno laid down a sac bunt, advancing both runners into scoring position. In the next at bat, Ryan Rosa took a pitch before lacing an RBI single into center that cut the So. Cal. lead in half. Robert Henry hit a ball on the ground to second forcing Josh Barrick to range to his right. Despite a spin-and-throw move to first by the Catch second baseman, Henry plated the third Menlo run with the third infield hit of the inning.

With runners at the corners, Kim executed a beautiful pickoff to first, catching Henry off of the bag. During the rundown, Roza broke for home, but instead of scoring, the ball met him for a rendezvous at the plate and the lead runner was erased. Cameron Miller soon realized Henry was pretty far off of the bag at second, and snapped a throw down to see if he could catch him napping. Henry then broke for third but the relay to Phillip Nam (Kenyon College) would not be in time to complete two pickoffs in the same play. Regardless, Kim was able to retire the side during the next at bat by inducing a groundout to second.

Both teams were able to muster a couple base runners the next two innings but the next run was not tallied until the top of the eighth. With the Legends down by a run, Cam Miller backed his starter by adding a big insurance run. The catcher squared up on a 3-1 pitch and rocketed the second Catch homer of the day out to left.

With a two run lead and Kim lined up for a win, Michael Shaw (Azusa Pacific University) took over on the mound in the bottom of the eighth. Shaw retired the first two batters of the inning easily but the next three Legends reached base safely, loading the bases for Barrett. Shaw was on the verge of walking in a run, but instead Barrett popped up the 3-1 pitch for a harmless third out.

So. Cal. doubled up on Menlo in the ninth during Josh Rojas’ (University of Hawaii) only plate appearance of the day. Rojas lifted a ball to left center that got down for an RBI double, extending the second baseman’s streak of reaching base safely to 19 games.

Billy Kirkpatrick (William Jewell) came on in ninth and locked down the tenth Catch win with three consecutive groundouts.

Up Next: The Catch travel to San Luis Obispo for a three game set against the SLO Blues, with game one starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday.