Yeomanator’s Bomb Terminates Minier’s Gem

2015 Catch Game 30 Recap from So. Cal. FCA Baseball on Vimeo.

By: Myles Bridgewater-Jackman, Sports Information Director

La Mirada, Calif. -- From day one, one of the So. Cal. strong suits has been scoring, and scoring early. However, when they don’t, the Catch consistently find themselves unable to grind out a comeback victory. When their opponents score first, the Catch have only managed to come back a single time to win a ball game. In Tuesday’s matchup, after finding themselves down 1-0 in the fourth, So. Cal. broke the trend and came back to secure a 4-1 victory against the Santa Paula Halos.

After breezing by the Long Beach Legends during Sunday’s double dip, the Catch had their work cut out for them in the form of Halos’ starter Greg Minier. Minier was dominant out the gate, no-hitting So. Cal. through four innings and denying them a run until the seventh.

Opposing him on the mound was southpaw, Billy Kirkpatrick (William Jewell), making his first start of the season. Kirkpatrick, who had yet to work more than two consecutive innings this season, translated his stellar relief record (2.09 ERA, 11 K, 12.3 IP) into five strong innings, limiting the Halos to a single run.

The Catch starter faced the minimum through three but the Halos’ lineup squeezed a run through in the top of the fourth. Back to back singles from Andru Cardenas and Justin Toerner placed runners at the corners. One out and two batters later, Daniel Barnett grounded a ball to short with the potential for a double play. Austin Yeoman (San Diego Christian) and Josh Barrick (Liberty University) teamed up 6-4 for the first out, but Barrick’s relay was just late as Barnett was able to beat out the throw, allowing Cardenas to score. Kirkpatrick limited the scoring to the one run as he got the next batter to pop out to end the inning.

The Catch lineup was frustrated through four, but managed their first hit in the fifth, and broke through in the bottom of the seventh. With his second hit of the game, Cole Taylor (University of Utah) slapped a hard hit single through the right side of the infield. Taylor took advantage of a passed ball, moving into scoring position, and waited for Case Smith (Baylor University) to do some damage. Sure enough, Smith launched an RBI single up the middle, plating Taylor from second, knotting the game at one and advancing to second on the throw. With a runner in scoring position, and only one out, Yeoman made his way to the plate. The shortstop later recounted his approach, “I was just trying to match him,” referring to Smith, but Yeoman did much more than that. On a 1-1 pitch Austin launched a mammoth home run, 400 feet to dead center to take a 3-1 So. Cal. lead. That would be the day for Greg Minier, but the inning would continue against reliever Jerry Lucayo.

Josh Barrick blasted a ball into the left field corner for a ringing double and advanced on a passed ball to Richard Cunningham (Baylor University). With the infield in and the count set at 2-2 to Cunningham, the leadoff man hit a grounder to the second baseman, Mike Volaski. Volaski fielded, and threw to the plate trying to get the lead runner, but the throw home was late, and as Barrick touched home, the lead grew to 4-1.

The Halos made it interesting in the top of the eighth, loading the bases with only one out in the inning. Michael Shaw (Azusa Pacific University), who had pitched two shutout innings, was unable to find the strike zone in his third inning of work, and walked the bases loaded. The Catch turned to Al Higgins (Trinity University) to work out of the jam and retire the side, which he did to perfection.

After Striking out Alex Sawelson on three pitches, Higgins got RJ Cordiero to roll over his first offering and ground out routinely to second base. The Trinity right-hander came back for his second inning in the ninth, shutting down the side in order to secure the win.

Up Next: The Catch rematch the Long Beach Legends on Wednesday, looking to secure their fourth straight win. First pitch is slated for 5 o’clock.