Studdard seals walk-off win for Foresters

Granger Studdard - Santa Barbara Foresters

Granger Studdard’s ninth-inning home run lifted the Foresters to victory on Sunday. (Presidio File Photo)

Down to the last out in the bottom of the 9th, Granger Studdard became the hero for the Foresters Sunday afternoon, belting a three-run walk-off homer to defeat the Menlo Park Legends 6-5 at UCSB’s Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.

“I was just trying to get good wood on the ball. He flipped a curveball in there and luckily I put good barrel on it and was able to get it over the fence,” said Studdard. “The left-fielder tried to deke me out a little bit, but I knew I hit it pretty well and it’s a great feeling to win a game for us.”

Splitting the first two games of the series, Santa Barbara entered Sunday’s game in search of a win against the Legends to maintain its position atop the California Collegiate League.

Menlo Park found itself ahead early off Forester starter Justin Camp, getting a RBI double from Manny Menocal to bring home Ryan Rose for a 1-0 lead.

The Legends’ Erik Amundson kept the Foresters quiet through five until his no-hit bid ended in the bottom of the 6th with a double from John Holland. Holland was then brought home by Matt Henderson’s RBI double to tie score at 1-1.

Holland had a successful day at the plate, finishing 3-5 with three runs.

After a heated 7th inning where Forester’s Coach Bill Pintard was ejected due to arguing two questionable calls at second base, things got even worse for Santa Barbara as the Legends extending their lead to 4-1 in the 8th.

David Greer helped the Foresters crawl back into the game with a 2-run single up the middle to score Holland and Henderson to make it 4-3.

Menlo Park quickly responded scoring another in the 9th to pull ahead 5-3 for some insurance runs heading into the bottom half of the inning.

With two outs in the 9th, the Foresters looked for some late inning magic with Holland and Henderson on 1st and 2nd and the game-winning run at home in Studdard.

With Menlo pitcher Richard Peoples on the mound, Studdard crushed a curveball over the left field for a series winning walk-off.

Forester pitcher Dalton Brown gets the win for the Foresters to move his record to (3-0) on the year, with Peoples taking the loss for the Legends.

With the win, Santa Barbara now improves to a league best (30-7) on the season. The Foresters catch two days of rest after the dramatic victory, returning to action Wednesday as the head south to take on the Los Angeles Brewers for a three game series on the road.

“A game like this gives definitely helps us moving forward,” said Studdard. “Hopefully a win like this can give confidence when we head Wichita and have to deal with these types of situations late in games”.