Miscues haunting Foresters again

Defensive mishaps continued to plague the Foresters as they tied the Pacific Union Capitalists 3-3 in a game that was shortened by darkness after the 11th inning on Saturday.

BOX SCORE

The Foresters committed a season-high six errors in the game. They committed five in a 6-3 loss to the Santa Paula Halos earlier in the week, and have recorded two or more errors in their last eight games.

“We need to clean that up,” Forester manager Bill Pintard said. “I’m a little bit beside myself. I know these guys are better players.”

Three of the team’s six errors came from the shortstop position, which has not been unusual for the Foresters. The three regular shortstops– Keaton Jones, Garrett Mattlage, and Tyler Krieger – account for almost half of the team’s errors. Despite this lingering statistic, Jones sports a .923 fielding percentage, whereas Krieger is third on the team in assists with 15, and Mattlage has helped turn five double plays in eight appearances.

“All three of them are Division I shortstops, and they’ve all fielded very well in the past,” Pintard said. “We just need to take care of the ball better and keep working at it.”

Despite the defensive struggle, the Foresters were able to hold the Capitalists scoreless for the first six innings of Saturday’s matchup. The ‘Sters took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Austin Darby walked, then made it all the way to third base on a errant pickoff throw from Capitalist pitcher Chris Viall. Darby scored when teammate Shane Hoelscher reached on an error by Capitalist shortstop Andre Gregory.

The Foresters held on to the one-run lead even though they were no-hit until the fifth inning. Ben Johnson broke up Viall’s no-hitter with a single to left field in the fifth, but was stranded on first when Steven Reveles grounded into an inning-ending double play.

Forester starter Ty Culbreth silenced the Capitalist bats through six innings, allowing just two hits. UCSD senior Justin Rahn relieved him in the seventh, and gave up Pacific Union’s only three runs – all of which were unearned.

Five Forester pitchers combined to pitch the final 4 1/3 innings without allowing another Capitalist run. Pintard spoke highly of his pitching staff after the game, complimenting its ability to work out of tight spots.

“The scoreboard doesn’t tell the story for our pitching staff today,” Pintard said.

The Capitalists threatened again in the eighth inning when they loaded the bases with one out. Pintard sent Patrick Weigel to the mound to try to work out of the jam. It took Weigel just one pitch to induce an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.

“That was absolutely huge for us,” Pintard said.

Reveles led off the bottom half of the eighth with a single to right field. Colt Atwood walked to put runners on first and second with no one out. After a double steal, Jacob Felts tripled off the center field wall to score both runners.

Felts, a University of Texas senior, finished with two hits and two RBI in his second appearance with the Foresters this season.

“He’s a leader,” Pintard said. “He was a leader last year too. You can count on Jacob Felts.”

The game remained knotted into the 11th inning, when it was called because of darkness. The Foresters put runners in scoring position in both the tenth and 11th innings, but were unable to capitalize.

Pintard said that the lack of offense could be attributed to the higher level of pitching. Pacific Union featured pitchers from the likes of Stanford, Cal Berkeley, Cal Poly, and UC Davis.

“The pitching tonight was much better than what we’ve been seeing,” Pintard said. “That was a good ballclub, but they kicked it around too. Late in the game, it was tough to see. We needed to make contact with runners in scoring position. We have to do that. And we didn’t.”

The Foresters round out their weekend series with an afternoon game against the Bakersfield Sound on Sunday at 1 p.m. In their first two meetings, the Foresters routed the Sound 13-4 and 12-0.

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