San Luis Obispo Blues pitcher Chad Girodo had one of those performances that even he couldn’t believe.
“I had a lucky night, you know,” he said.
That was a good-enough explanation for striking out nine consecutive batters in just 3 2⁄3 innings of relief, highlighting the Blues’ 5-3 win over the Santa Barbara Foresters on Tuesday night in a summer collegiate baseball game to open an important three-game series at SLO Stadium between last season’s co-California Collegiate League champions.
The win puts the Blues (26-12, 15-8 CCL) a half-game ahead of the Foresters (14-8 CCL) in the league standings.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
The teams will meet again today at 6 p.m. and again Thursday at 6 p.m.
On Tuesday, the Blues led 3-1 going into the top of the fifth before Santa Barbara’s Richy Pedroza scored on a passed ball.
That sequence led to Blues manager Chal Fanning pulling starter Gandy Stubblefield, who finished with the win after throwing six strikeouts and giving up one earned run — an RBI single by Ryan O’Hearn, the Foresters’ cleanup hitter, in the fourth inning.
That was when Girodo stepped in.
He came in with two outs in the top of the fifth, quickly inducing a batter to pop out beyond the third base line.
He then went on a tear, striking out the next nine batters, with the first eight going down swinging.
“I was just trying to put the ball in the zone,” said Girodo, a Mississippi State product. “Everything kinda of clicked tonight. You have those nights where everything adds up pretty good.”
“I was mostly fastball, curveball,” he added. “They were swinging through fastballs and I was trying to keep it over the plate, keeping them swinging. I wasn’t trying to strike everybody out. That’s, honestly, not me as a pitcher.”
In the meantime, Taylor Anderson produced a two-run double when he smashed the ball to deep centerfield to give the Blues a 5-2 lead in the bottom half of the fifth — setting up Girodo’s impressive pitching showcase.
Girodo exited the game in the ninth after he fielded a groundout. Chase Greene came in to finish but the Foresters scored on an error, forcing Fanning to replace Greene with Parker Ray.
Ray got the save after striking out two of the last three batters.
“I didn’t want to take Chad out, but I wanted to make sure we can bring him back for Thursday,” Fanning said. “I know that’s not usually the right thinking but I trust the other guys.
“Unfortunately, Chase came in and it wasn’t his night. But good thing we had Parker Ray to be able to back it all up and finish big for us.”
The Blues took a 1-0 lead after an RBI single by Bryan Peters before taking advantage of four errors in the third inning to score two runs and increase the lead to 3-0.
Anderson was 3 for 3 with two RBI, Keegan Dale was 2 for 4 with two runs scored and Tanner Witt also scored twice.
San Luis Obispo is 3-1 against the Foresters this season, but the Blues are well aware that their CCL rivals are capable of bouncing back in the series at SLO Stadium.
“To get the first ‘W’ in the series, now you’ve got some momentum to work with, confidence on our side,” Fanning said after Tuesday’s game. “We’ve just got to make sure we answer their intensity (tonight). I’m sure they’re going to come back and be a little bit angry at us. I’m sure they’re going to try to take it out on us.”