The San Luis Obispo Blues entered Friday night’s game against the MLB Academy Barons during an important juncture of the California Collegiate League schedule.
On the previous night, the Blues beat league rival Santa Barbara for the second time in a three-game series to take back the CCL lead. So when Friday rolled around, their main concern was not to screw up the momentum.
In fact, the Blues, ranked 11th nationally this week by PerfectGame.org looked unstoppable.
San Luis Obispo collected 18 hits and exploded for an eight-run sixth inning, and starting pitcher Kory Delange was poised through six solid innings in the Blues’ 17-4 rout of the Barons from Compton in a summer collegiate baseball game at SLO Stadium.
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“They obviously came out with a good mindset,” Blues head coach Chal Fanning said of his players. “They knew this was a big game. I told them after the series against Santa Barbara, ‘Don’t let that define us. You have to take care of business with these guys.’ ”
The Blues (14-5, 9-3 CCL) weren’t short on production on this night, especially when six batters went to the plate six times. Will Maddox was 4 for 5 with a double and an RBI, Nick Flair went 4 for 5 with two doubles and two RBI and Tanner Witt, Brandon Carr and Nick Rosso each had two RBI.
Taylor Anderson finished with three RBI on two hits. Maddox, Witt and Flair each scored three times.
With that kind of production, the Barons, whose roster is made up mostly of junior college players, were rendered into non-threats early on. MLB Academy had three of its four runs after the sixth inning.
By then, Delange — a Nicholls State product — was watching from the dugout.
Delange had five strikeouts and gave up five hits and one walk before Thomas Cortese and Sean Mullen came on in relief for the final three innings.
“I felt pretty comfortable,” said Delange, who has a 6-foot-5, 245-pound frame. “My arm felt good, everything felt good. I just had to find my release points. Once I found it, it was all right.”
“I think Kory came out and set a good tone,” Fanning said. “We were able to score runs early and everything kind of fell into place after that.”
The Blues led 6-1 at the bottom of the fifth inning. But after that, they appeared unstoppable. San Luis Obispo scored eight runs on six hits and three errors in the sixth to lead 14-1, thanks to going through 10 batters with Rosso coming up with a two-run double to cap off the rally.
“We took care of business (against Santa Barbara) and got the series,” Fanning said. “Now that’s in the past. We had to turn our attention to tonight. It was a good way to start to being back at home now for a while.”
The Blues will host the Barons again tonight before playing the following eight of nine games at home.