McBean Stadium was rocking on Friday for Opening Night, with an attendance of 1,454. Anthony Perez (Cal State East Bay) set the tone early, with four scoreless innings, zero walks and five strikeouts, which put him in line for the win.
Perez was able to escape a jam in the 1st inning, thanks in part to a beautifully turned double play by SS JT Maloney (Sac City) and 2B Cade Sanchez (Texas A&M Corpus Christi).
The Potters bats came to life quickly in the second inning, starting with a double down the line from Brandon Springer (William Jessup). Landon Weiss (William Jessup), who got the call from first year manager Jon Peters to join the Potters three days prior to Opening Night, got the scoring started with an RBI single to center field, knocking in his William Jessup teammate. Cade Sanchez followed with a two-run single to extend the Potters lead to 4-0 after two innings.
The bullpen picked up right where Perez left off. Logan Bell (Bowling Green State) went two innings, notching three strikeouts, and allowing one unearned run, on an error by LF Zack Malone (Sacramento State), which plated the Knicks second run of the game.
Following the error, Bell found himself in a tight situation. With the help of 1,454 energetic Potter fans, he was able to record a crucial strikeout of Joey Taddie to end the inning.
Peyton Stumbo (UNR) closed it out for the Potters with two scoreless innings, striking out four. Stumbo earned the save as well, resulting in a final score of 5-2.
The Potters take game one of the three-game series with the Novato Knicks, and will take the field again tomorrow at 6:05 PM @ McBean Stadium for Strikeout Cancer Night with fireworks after the game.
After beginning the season with five blowout victories highlighted by power hitting, the Lincoln Potters showed in its 2-0 win over the Novato Knicks that their methodical defense will help produce close wins.
“It feels good getting a close win. It brings out the competitors in all of us,” said Manager Ryan Stevens. “I’m super proud of what our arms did today – our bullpen, our starter Perez, MacDonald out of the bullpen. I’m really proud of those pitchers. We’re not always going to have our offense every game, and for them to pick us up today was huge.”
Right-handed pitcher Anthony Perez (Cal State East Bay) threw 5.0 innings, striking out three while holding the Knicks scoreless.
Left-handed pitcher Cort MacDonald (Stanford University) had three strikeouts and zero walks in his 3.0 innings while allowing just one hit.
Lincoln turned three double plays in the first five innings. Potter center fielder Kevin Gutierrez’ (William Jessup University) running catch helped keep the Knicks scoreless in the sixth inning, and JT Waldon’s (Folsom Lake College) eighth and ninth inning grabs deep in right field helped preserved the shutout.
The Potters broke the scoreless gridlock in the sixth inning. After Dan Pruitt (Oklahoma Baptist University) walked, Waldon slammed a double off the left field wall. Consecutive walks by Mattie Thomas (Cal State Northridge) and Troy Shields (Oklahoma Baptist University) gave the Potters a 1-0 lead.
Lincoln produced its insurance run in the seventh inning. Trey Furrey (Oklahoma Baptist University) singled and Pruitt walked. And when an errant throw sailed over the Knick first baseman, Furrey circled third and raced home.
Right-handed Potter pitcher Jacob Strmiska earned the save. With a Knick on third base and the Lincoln fans on their feet, Strmiska sealed the Potter win with consecutive strikeouts.
The Potters and Knicks will meet again at McBean Park tomorrow.
You can find tonight’s box score here.
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