A one-out, two-run double to left-center in the bottom of the eighth inning by Chad Christensen broke a 3-3 tie on Wednesday night, lifting the San Luis Obispo Blues to a key 5-3 summer collegiate baseball win over the rival Santa Barbara Foresters before a crowd of nearly 700 at Sinsheimer Park.
Christensen, a junior rightfielder from Nebraska, finished the game 2 for 4. His late-game performance pulled the Blues (27-11, 18-10 California Collegiate League) to within a game-and-a-half of the Foresters (28-9, 20-9) in the league standings.
The league champion receives an automatic bid to the upcoming National Baseball Congress World Series.
The two clubs, each of which were ranked in Wednesday’s latest PerfectGame.org national Top 25 — the Foresters at No. 2 in the country and the Blues at No. 15 — will meet again tonight for the final installment in the contentious and occasionally heated season series, at 6 p.m. in SLO Stadium.
In Wednesday’s win, San Luis Obispo took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning and led 3-1 by the end of the fifth before the Foresters broke even with a pair of runs in the top of the eighth.
Kyle Martin picked up the save for the Blues, giving up one hit in a shutout ninth.
Martin held up the start of Dylan Mendoza, who scattered six hits in 7 2⁄3 innings of three-run ball that included four strikeouts and walks each.
Mission Prep grad and current Cuesta College standout Alex Detz batted 1 for 2 with a run scored and two walks to help the Blues’ offense in the victory.
Brannon Champagne finished the night 2 for 3 with two RBI for San Luis Obispo, and Dylan Gavin went 1 for 4 with an RBI and one run scored.
Cal State Fullerton junior infielder Derek Legg had a standout game for Santa Barbara, going 4 for 4 with one RBI. He had half of the Foresters’ hits for the evening.