Small’s grand slam powers Pioneers past Foresters

Orange County Pioneers’ catcher Zach Small cracked a grand slam over the scoreboard at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium in Santa Barbara to help his team defeat the Foresters on Sunday afternoon.

The Foresters took the first two games of the series against the Pioneers, and the third remained close through six innings.  But Small’s (Fordham University) blast broke the game open and proved to be the difference in the 9-5 victory.

“He threw me a pitch over the middle and I was just lucky to put the bat on the ball,” Small said.  “We’ve been trying to beat them all year and we’re real happy to get one now.”

The early part of the game was a stalemate due to solid performances from both starting pitchers.

For the Foresters, Jason Hursh (Oklahoma State) struck out five batters in five innings, while allowing five hits and two runs.

Ruben Orosco (UC Irvine) pitched four innings for the Pioneers, and allowed three runs on seven hits.

Two of those runs came off a two-run home run from Andrew Stumph (Texas State), who was playing his last game for the Foresters this season.

The relief pitching proved to be a major difference between the two teams.

Matt Treybig (Upper Iowa) stepped in for Orosco and struck out five Foresters in four innings.  He allowed two runs on just three hits and earned the win.

The Foresters used a slew of pitchers to finish the final four innings after Hursh’s exit.  Brad Kottman (Rice) took over for Hursh in the sixth but was pulled after allowing an two-RBI double to Pioneers’ second baseman Blake Thomsen (Princeton).

Kyle Friedrichs (CSU Long Beach) came in for Kottman.  Friedrichs got off to a quick start in the seventh inning by striking out two consecutive Pioneers, but lost composure after hitting the third batter he faced.  Friedrichs then gave up a base hit, a walk, and a grand slam to Small.

“Our bullpen let us down,” Foresters head coach Bill Pintard said.  “We let one get away from us.”

The Foresters were able to narrow the lead after a two-run home run from James Wharton (L.A. Pierce), but were unable to rally late in the game.

Santa Barbara will stay at home to play the Conejo Oaks in their annual 4th of July game at 3 p.m. at Cesar Uyesaka Stadium.

The Pioneers (12-10 overall, 12-10 CCL) travel to Los Angeles for a holiday game against the MLB Academy Barons.

All Forester games are broadcast on AM 990 KTMS and


GAME NOTES: Andrew Stumph is leaving the team to rest and rehabilitate a shoulder injury and hopes to rejoin the team later this season… The Foresters dropped to second in the CCL behind the San Luis Obispo Blues… The Foresters are sending a league-high 18 players to the CCL All-Star Game… The Pioneers are sending 9 players to the All-Star Game in Glendale on July 13.