With two swings of the bat, San Luis Obispo Rattlers infielder Joe Etcheverry ended an impressive streak and a streak of futility.
Etcheverry and Zach Steele finished a homer short of the cycle and the San Luis Obispo Rattlers ended a nine-game losing streak and the San Luis Obispo Blues eight-game winning streak with a 10-4 win Tuesday at SLO Stadium.
Etcheverry did the majority of his damage with two outs, doubling in a run to give the Rattlers a 5-4 lead in the seventh and breaking the game open with a three-run triple an inning later.
“There’s no question that this was a big win for the mentality of our team,” Rattlers manager Roy Howell said. “We’ve been playing better and better and putting things together and everybody did their job for the most part.”
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The Rattlers (9-13, 3-12 CCL) snapped a Blues eight-game winning streak that included a three-game sweep of their intracity rivals in a “road” series last week. They were also swept at the defending league champion Santa Barbara Foresters, the last team to beat the Blues before Tuesday’s game.
The Blues fought their way back into the game after trailing 4-0 in the second inning as Cal State Fullerton’s Austin Kingsolver was a one-man show in the third. After being hit by a pitch, Kingsolver stole second base before stealing third just a few pitches later. He later scored on Ryan Aguayo’s RBI single.
Aguayo eventually moved from first to third on a passed ball and scored on a sac fly by Mike Kindel.In the end, Rattlers starter Todd Simko was charged with two runs after only hitting a batter and giving up a single.
It’s been those little mistakes that have plagued the Rattlers during their recent slide.
But it didn’t cost them tonight as the bottom third of the order came through with six hits and five RBI.
“Well, the thing is we don’t really have an order,” Howell clarified. “We just try to put guys out there and think ‘Let’s go get them.’ It doesn’t matter where you’re hitting, you just go out there and try to do your thing.”
Etcheverry finished with three hits and four RBI in the win, which narrowed the all-time series gap between the two rivals to an 8-6 advantage for the Blues.
The loss dropped the Blues (13-8, 12-6 CCL), who were ranked No. 16 in the initial Perfect Game Top 30 Summer Club rankings, into a first-place tie with the Foresters in league.
The two teams will meet again at 6:35 tonight at SLO Stadium.