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.
Thursday night, the Lincoln Potters faced off with a Bay Area Collegiate League member, the Alameda Anchors. This would be the first of three straight games the Potters are playing against members of the BACL, the second two being the West Coast Kings. In two previous games against CCL opponents, the Anchors were winless with a -15 run differential.
Hoping to get back on track after a loss to the Crawdads, the Potters granted Cooper Robinson (UC Irvine) his first start of the season. Robinson got out of the first without allowing a baserunner and striking out the final batter of the inning; this would quickly become a trend tonight.
Ben Romano (Tulane University) legged out a bases loaded dropped-third-strike with two outs in the bottom of the first, extending the Potters’ first-inning-score streak to seven games.
After Robinson struck out two more batters in the second, the Potters also added to their early lead, scoring five runs on only three hits in the bottom of the inning. Back-to-back knocks by Payton Brennan (UCLA) and Romano drove in four of the five.
Robinson returned to his dominant form, striking out the side in the fourth. He’d exit the game in the fifth with an 8-0 lead, only surrendering four hits along the way while striking out eight. While it may seem Robinson exited early given his performance, he had only reached the four-inning mark once in his college career to this point.
Tonko Susac (University of Arizona) relieved Robinson who was in line for his first win this Summer. Picking up right where he left off, Susac struck out two batters in the fifth and sixth innings while the Potters continued to pour it on offensively.
The Potters lead by enough to make multiple substitutions late in the game. One of them, Landon Weiss (William Jessup University) even delivered a big hit in the seventh with the bases loaded to extend the Potters’ lead to 13-1, which was the final score that night.
Despite allowing a ticky-tack run in the seventh, Tonko Susac remained in the game for the long haul. Broadcasters, Phantom and Stones even made bets on if Susac would return for the ninth after his pitch count reached 67 in the eighth. Amid rumors that this could be his last night with the Potters, Susac returned in the ninth and even struck out the final batter of the game.
After three dominant outings, will Tonko Susac return to the mound this season in Lincoln to build on his team-leading 26-strikeout total?
“Maybe, we’ll have to wait and see,” Susac said following the game in regards to his Potters’ future. With or without Susac, the Potters will take on the West Coast Kings in two more non-league games at McBean Park on Friday and Saturday.
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