Blues dump Foresters with 10 runs

Keaton Siomkin pitched six innings of quality baseball, but the San Luis Obispo Blues jumped on the Foresters’ bullpen in the final three innings to take the first game of a two-game series 10-2.

Santa Barbara’s Cal Berkeley sophomore scattered seven Blues hits over his six innings of work. Siomkin allowed three earned runs while striking out six without walking a batter.

“He pitched really well, well enough to win,” Forester manager Bill Pintard said. “That’s a quality start for him, he’s a bulldog out there.”

After Siomkin exited the game, the Blues’ offense exploded for seven runs off of three different Forester relievers to solidify the win. Second baseman Aaron Attaway led the way for the Blues with three hits, two runs scored and three RBI, though two other Blues also had multi-hit games.

“Offensively, we did a nice job and had good approaches today,” Blues manager Chal Fanning said. “We capitalized on some pitches that they probably wish they had back. We did a nice job overall, took advantage of what we could, and scored some runs.”

The Blues struck first in the second inning when Cody Jones hit a one-out single, then stole second. He scored on a Derek Miller double to center field. Miller scored on Bryan Case’s first hit of the day– he would end with three.

Meanwhile, Blues starter and Texas Christian University product Travis Evans was in control until he left a fastball up in the zone in the bottom of the third that Jacob Felts crushed over the left field wall. The home run, which also scored Joey Epperson, was Felts’ first of the season. In four appearances with the Foresters, Felts is batting .562 with seven RBI and four doubles.

Felts’ homer would account for the Foresters’ only two runs of the game, and the home team’s bats were quieted after the third inning. Evans would allow just five hits in his five innings pitched, then three Blues relievers combined to give up three hits over the final four innings.

“He did a good job,” Fanning said of Evans. “He got himself into a little bit of trouble early… but then he settled in and it’s too bad he made just that one mistake.”

The game was not without controversy though, as two interferences were called at crucial moments against the Foresters that could have prevented further offensive output. The first came in the bottom of the first inning, when Felts was called for blocking the catcher Case’s attempt to throw out a stealing Garrett Mattlage.

The second was when Felts slid into second base in an attempt to break up a double play grounder hit by Jerry McClanahan in the bottom of the sixth. Felts allegedly pulled the Blues shortstop down with him as he slid, but Pintard disagreed with the call.

“[The interference at second base] was not the right call,” Pintard said. “We play pro rules, not college rules, and our guy went into him hard. I’m not happy with that call. It was huge for us.”

After the two calls, the Forester bullpen that has been so stellar all year unraveled, and the Blues put the game out of reach.

“They made plays and you have to tip your hat to them,” Pintard said. “Our relief pitching let us down which doesn’t happen very often with these guys. They’ve done a good job, but tonight they just didn’t have it.”

The Foresters will have a chance to redeem themselves on Wednesday night when they travel to San Luis Obispo to take on the Blues at Sinsheimer Stadium. They will be without the bat of Felts, who injured his shoulder on the slide into second.

The Blues currently hold the top spot in the CCL conference, but Pintard said that one loss will not make or break the Foresters’ run at another CCL championship.

“We’re chasing them in this tournament, but this is a two-game series and we play them eight times,” Pintard said. “I’m not going to lead too much into this right away.”

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