Foresters survive late surge for 3rd straight win

An early pitchers’ duel at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium broke wide open late in the game, with Foresters’ second baseman Michael Ratterree dealing the knockout blow with a solo home run to give Santa Barbara a 7-5 win over the Orange County Pioneers on Tuesday.

The Pioneers were first on the scoreboard when second baseman Blake Thomsen hit a home run over the left-field fence to put Orange County ahead 1-0.

That home run proved to be the only smudge on an otherwise excellent performance from Foresters’ starter Bryan Crabb.  The right-hander out of San Diego State allowed just two hits and one run, while striking out five in five innings.

“Tonight was a big outing for our starting pitcher, Crabb,” Foresters’ manager Bill Pintard said.  “He struggled in his first outing, did OK in his second outing, and tonight was good.”

Pioneers starting pitcher Matt Treybig (Upper Iowa) was also impressive.  Treybig kept the Foresters guessing at the plate and recorded eight strikeouts in five innings of work. His off-speed pitches caused six Forester batters to take their third strike looking.

The offenses woke up after the starting pitchers sat down. Ratterree reached base on bunt single and was brought home on an RBI groundout by third baseman Joe Wallace, tying the score at 1-1 in the fifth inning.

An inning later, the Foresters took advantage of Treybig’s absence and scored four runs off of five singles against reliever Brandon Quezada (Cal State Dominguez Hills).

Down 5-1, the Pioneers responded with a four-run inning of their own in the eighth

The Foresters brought in right-hander Kyle Friedrichs after Ian McCarthy (Oklahoma State) pitched two no-hit innings to relieve Crabb.  Friedrichs, a right-hander out of Cal State Long Beach, was beat up by the top of the Pioneers’ order, giving up four hits and three runs before he was pulled.

“I think Friedrichs had bad luck,” Pintard said.  “He gave up one hard hit, but then there was a really questionable call at first base that he had to deal with.  He has good stuff.”

Closer Ryan Hawthorne (Loyola Marymount) brought stability back to the mound, allowing no hits in the final two innings, but he gave up a run on a wild pitch.

“I was a closer back at LMU and it is something I’ve adapted to,” Hawthorne said.  “It is pressure packed, but I almost need the pressure at this point.”

In the eight inning, Ratterree (Rice University) erased any thought of a Forester loss by crushing a change-up from Pioneer pitcher Fabian Lopez over the left-field wall.

The Foresters (12-2 overall, 8-2 CCL) will travel to Orange County for the second of three games against the Pioneers (7-7 overall, 7-7 CCL) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Hart Park.

All Foresters games are broadcast on AM 990 and on

NOTES: Foresters’ shortstop Shane Kroker (Chico State) assisted on seven outs and had one unassisted putout … Foresters’ pitcher Ian McCarthy (Oklahoma State) pitched for the Pioneers last summer and did not allow a hit against his former team … The Pioneers are new to the California Collegiate League (CCL) this year. The team has four Ivy Leaguers on its roster: Daniel Moskovits (Harvard), Greg Zebrack (Penn), Blake Thomsen (Princeton) and Ryan Albert (Princeton).