Southern California Returns the Favor and Blanks the Blues

DSC_0646_1 from So. Cal. FCA Baseball on Vimeo.

BOX SCORE

By Keaton A. Moore – Sports Information

San Luis Obispo, CA-In a razor-thin game between the Southern California Catch and the San Luis Obispo Blues, three runs were enough for starting pitcher Jimmy Gallarda (Biola University), who pitched his fourth shut out of the summer, to deliver the Catch their thirteenth conference win. As Gallarda blanked the Blues through seven innings, the Catch won the series and split the conference matchups with the Hometown Team.

When the Catch were held hitless through the first four innings of the middle game, Southern California wasted no time in putting a hit on the board as first baseman Caleb Potter (West Virginia University) started off the game with a leadoff single. Although he did not score in the first, Potter led off the second with a double and was eventually brought home by an RBI two-bagger, hit by third baseman Johnny Weeks (Dallas Baptist University). The next batter, right fielder Sam Mrstik (Dallas Baptist University), drove in Weeks with an RBI single, which gave the Catch a 2-0 lead over the Blues.

Weeks scored for the second time in the game with a balk in the eighth inning, giving the Catch their lasting 3-0 lead. The rest of the game looked effortless for Gallarda and the Catch’s pitching staff, who maintained Southern California’s 3-0 lead through all nine innings.

Gallarda started the game by retiring the first nine batters in order, pitching a perfect game through the third inning. His first base runner of the game came with a walk to lead off the fourth inning and the Blues’ first hit put runners on the corners, which was Gallarda’s first real threat of the game. However, a pick off at first base lightened San Luis Obispo’s threat and Gallarda ended the inning with a strikeout.

Despite Gallarda’s utterly dominant start against San Luis Obispo, he allowed an uncharacteristic number of walks in his seventh start. Coming into his start with eight walks on the summer, Gallarda walked the leadoff batter in the fourth and back-to-back walks in the sixth totaled three in the game, setting the most walks allowed by Gallarda in a single game this summer. Regardless, Gallarda improved to 4-1 and is one of three pitchers in the California Collegiate League with four wins.

Potter went 2-4 with one run, ending his three-game hit-drought after going 0-9 in his last three starts. The only Catch player with more hits than Potter in the series finale was Weeks, who went 3-4, scoring two runs and driving in one run.

Returning home, the Catch start a three-game stretch against the Orange County Riptide on Tuesday, July 19 at 4:30 p.m.