The Catch Fight Off Ninth Inning Rally to Take Season Opener

Game Recap 5/31/16 from So. Cal. FCA Baseball on Vimeo.

BOX SCORE

By Keaton Moore - Sports Information

La Mirada, CA Squaring off against the Orange County Surf in the 2016 season opener, the Southern California Catch hung onto their lead after a shaky ninth inning to beat the Surf 11-10. Despite committing total of six errors in the game, the Catch’s hot-hitting top of the lineup gave their team the run support needed to start off their season 1-0.

Hailing from the Sunset Collegiate League, the Surf are now three games into their summer. They split a two-game series with the Long Beach Legends and are now 1-2 after losing the series opener to the Catch.

Returning for his second season with the Catch, starting pitcher Nick Cumpston (Eastern Kentucky) took the mound for Southern California. Last season, Cumpston was 1-0 with a 3.57 ERA through four games and 17.67 innings pitched. He ended his first outing of the summer with three innings pitched and gave up three hits, two runs and threw 70 pitches.

The Catch offense quickly gave Cumpston the run support he needed to keep the team ahead. After right fielder Ethan Lopez (Hawaii) led off the first with a walk and advancing to second off a wild pitch, he was brought home with a single from short stop Austin Bull (Grand Canyon). With two men on base, catcher Jacob Hathaway (University of San Francisco) gave the Catch a 3-1 lead with a two RBI single.

However, the Surf jumped on relief pitcher Nick Swizek (Cal State Dominguez) in the fourth inning, scoring two runs and taking a 4-3 lead. Although they scored two more in the top of the fifth, the Catch tied the game with three runs of their own. Back-to-back singles by third baseman Zach Malis (Grand Canyon) and Caleb Potter (West Virginia), who eventually scored the game-tying run, brought the Catch even with the Surf at 6-6.

Even though the Surf temporarily regained the lead, the four runs the Catch scored in the bottom of the sixth proved to be a deciding factor in their victory. Lopez tied the game with an RBI single and later scored the go-ahead run as Malis’ single brought in two runs. With one more run in the sixth and another in the seventh, the Catch gave themselves enough insurance runs to with-stand the Surf’s comeback in the ninth.

With closing pitcher Jaiden France (Orange Coast) on the mound, the Surf managed to bring home three runs on three hits and two errors. Their comeback attempt was cut one-run short as the Catch closed out the Surf on a controversial play at first base, winning 11-10. With two outs and a runner on third, France fielded a softly hit ball up the first base line and narrowly tagged the runner in the back for the final out of the game. After two innings of work, relief pitcher Brandon Gilson (TCU) earned the win for the season opener, while France threw the Catch’s first save of the summer.

In spite of the number of errors committed by the Catch, five different players showed their speed on the base paths with stolen bases, racking up eight by the end of the game. Reaching base twice, left fielder Zack Davis (University of Alabama, Birmingham) managed to steal three bases, followed closely behind by Malis who ended the game with two. Potter ended his night 2-3 and not only scored three runs, but successfully stole one base.

The Catch wrap up their two-game series against the Surf on Wednesday, June 1 at 4:30 p.m.