The San Luis Obispo Blues summer collegiate baseball team extended its winning streak to four games Friday with a 9-3 win over the California Expos at SLO Stadium, but it wasn’t as easy as it could have been – at least through the first six innings.
Locked in a pitchers duel, the Blues traded runs with their non-league opponents and struggled against 6-foot-6 righty Connor Brogdon in the first six frames.
But when San Jose State’s Hilario Tovar entered the game, it sparked a two-run seventh inning that pushed the lead to 5-3 and got things rolling for the Blues (12-4). The Blues continued the onslaught in the eighth inning, adding four more runs.
The timing of the lead was important. The Blues are now 11-1 when leading after seven innings.
Starting left-handed pitcher Bryan Sammons threw six innings and tallied a season-high eight strikeouts, but the delayed offense resulted in a no-decision. Side-arm thrower Jackson Sigmon picked up the win for the Blues.
The Blues will host the Expos on Saturday and Sunday at 6 p.m. and 1 p.m, respectively.
Key Play: Oklahoma State’s Ryan Sluder laid a bunt down the third base line that was supposed to be a sacrifice, but his speed forced a bad throw from Expos third baseman Christian Funk that scored two in the eighth.
Player of the Game: Switch hitting Texas Tech outfielder Tanner Gardner gave the Blues a 5-3 lead in the seventh with a two-run single.
“I knew it was coming in so I just got my hands through it, and did what I did,” Gardner said.
But he wasn’t done.
He switched sides of the plate and added another RBI when he ripped a line drive over the head of the Expos left fielder. Gardner slid into to third near the home dugout and celebrated as his triple pushed the Blues’ lead to 9-3.
“That’s one of my big things this summer to work on my right-handed swings from the right side during the season," Gardner said, “so that’s big for me.”
"Tanner always has a way of coming up with big hits at the right time," manager Jamie Clark said after the game.
Gardner finished the game 2-5 with 2 RBI.
Turning Point: After a sluggish start offensively, Clark pulled his team together after the third inning.
"We had a round-table in the dugout...we talked about being patient a little bit more at the plate and waiting on some pitches to come to us."
Here is tonight's Ferreira Inc. Hard Hat Player of the Game Tanner Gardner who had a huge 3-5 night including a big 2RBI single in the 7th to break up the tie