San Luis Obispo Blues head coach Jamie Clark wasn’t interested in moral victories Friday night.
The Blues opened California College League play with a 5-3 loss to the Walnut Creek Crawdads in front of nearly 1,000 spectators at Sinsheimer Stadium.
It was San Luis Obispo’s first loss of the young summer season, and Clark said the team came out “a little flat” against an energized Walnut Creek team playing its first game of the year.
Two errors defensively and a shaky eighth inning proved to be the Blues’ (4-1, 0-1 CCL) undoing.
“We kicked the ball around a little bit, and when that happens at crucial times,” Clark said, “it can easily cost you the game.”
How it happened
San Luis Obispo erased a 2-0 deficit with an RBI single from center fielder Luke Eigsti in the fourth and another RBI single by left fielder Wyatt Hogan in the fifth.
Hogan gave the Blues their first lead, 3-2, with another RBI single in the seventh.
The lead didn’t last, however, as the Crawdads (1-0, 1-0 CCL) batted through the order in the eighth against former Cuesta College reliever Dan Beavers to take a 5-3 advantage.
Beavers issued two walks, hit another batter and allowed three hits during the decisive eighth inning.
Hogan, a junior from Hendrix College in Arkansas, paced the Blues offensively, going 3 for 5 with a double, two RBI and a run. Harley Faye (2 for 5) and Josh Ramirez (2 for 4) also had multiple hits for San Luis Obispo.
“(Hogan) has the build to drive it hard every time,” Clark said. “But he’s one of those hitters that you’re not going to fool with a whole lot of pitches.”
On the mound
Matt Walker made his first start of the season for the Blues and scattered six hits and struck out two over five innings.
The 6-foot-4, 195-pound right-hander spent his redshirt freshman year at UCLA in 2015 — when the Bruins won the Pac-12 and earned the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament — and transferred to Fresno City College this spring. He went 5-3 with a 2.95 ERA in 21 appearances at the CCCAA level.
Clark said he has high expectations for Walker this summer and he could be one of the leaders of the staff.
“He will change speeds on the ball very well,” Clark said. “He moves the ball in and out. (I) really like Matt.”
San Luis Obispo and Walnut Creek will meet again a 6 p.m. Saturday during the second of a three-game series. Matt Mogollon is scheduled to make his second start for the Blues.
The two teams will complete the series at 1 p.m. Sunday, and San Luis Obispo will begin a four-game road trip next Tuesday.