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.
The Lincoln Potters produced another defensive gem to beat the Novato Knicks 3-2 and improve to 7-0.
Right-handed pitcher Mason Hilton (Stephen F. Austin) started and pitched 4 innings for the Potters, striking out two and allowing two runs.
Right-hander Riley Houtby pitched effectively in his 3 innings for the Potters, recording four strikeouts without allowing a run.
“I’m so happy with what our pitching’s doing the last two games,” said Manager Ryan Stevens. “The new guys came in and filled it up, threw some zeroes. Mason Hilton had a great start. I’m happy with them.”
Batting second, Damone Hale made sure the Knicks wouldn't be shut out on consecutive nights, hitting a solo home run. Marco Martinez’ RBI-double put the Knicks ahead 2-0 in the first inning.
The Potters responded in the second inning. After a Drew Stahl (University of Minnesota) doubled, Matthew Lee (University of Louisiana-Monroe) hit a groundball RBI-single into left field. A sacrifice groundout by Kevin Gutierrez (William Jessup University) evened the score, 2-2.
Lincoln claimed the lead in the third inning. Dan Pruitt (Oklahoma Baptist) singled into center field after Chase Weissenborn (University of New Mexico) took a pitch to the helmet. And JT Waldon (Folsom Lake College) hit an infield single to bring home the third Potter run.
Lincoln exhibited strong fielding while dealing with rain for much the game. Gutierrez made the defensive play of the fourth inning, sprinting toward a line drive and making a diving catch to help protect Lincoln’s 3-2 lead. Stahl dove to field a hard-hit groundball at second base in the sixth inning, quickly throwing across his body to beat the Knick baserunner and protect Lincoln’s 3-2 lead.
Right-handed pitcher Zach Malone retired the final six Knick batters to close the game, including four strikeouts.
The Potters will look to sweep the three-game series of the Knicks when the teams meet tomorrow at McBean Park.
You can find tonight’s box score here.
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