Summer collegiate baseball: Blues rebound with pitching gem

The San Luis Obispo Blues —one day removed from a heartbreaking performance against the defending National Baseball Congress national champions — rebounded to top the Conejo Oaks 8-1 Wednesday.

After blowing an 8-0 lead Tuesday in their attempt to give the Santa Barbara Foresters their first loss of the season, the Blues (13-10, 4-8 California Collegiate League) got a dominant pitching performance from John James.

James earned the win by limiting the Oaks to two hits and one unearned run while striking out nine in six innings.

“That’s the type of performance we’ve been looking for all summer,” Blues manager Chal Fanning said. “To have him turn around and do that (after the loss to the Foresters) was a very good situation.”

The Blues have now won five of their past six heading into today’s game at the Clovis Outlaws.

The offense was spearheaded Wednesday by left fielder Phil Ortez, who batted 3 for 4 with a run and three RBI — two of which came on a third-inning double that gave the Blues a 3-0 lead.

The Blues also got two hits apiece from Kyle Haskin and Terry Walsh, who scored five runs combined.

And unlike Tuesday, when the Blues squandered an eight-run lead and lost 12-9 to the Foresters, pitchers Chris Ricky and Mark DeVincenzi came on in relief and shut the door.

The duo combined to limit the Oaks to two more hits while striking out two over the final three innings.

“Now when you look at our offense and the way it’s been clicking and add pitching to that,” Fanning said, “we can hopefully get on a roll.”

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