The junior from New Mexico Highlands University hit for the cycle over the first two days of the season as the Crabs swept the Indians

by Erik Fraser/Humboldt Crabs

ARCATA (June 1, 2014) — Morgan McCasland made sure the Tyson Fisher era of Crabs baseball got off on the right foot.

The junior from New Mexico Highlands University hit for the cycle over the first two days of the season, going 3-for-3 with a double and a triple in a 10-0 Crabs win over the visiting Fairfield Indians on Saturday night, then jolting a three-run blast to center to help lift Humboldt out of an early hole en route to an 8-6 victory on Sunday.

“I was seeing the ball really well yesterday,” said McCasland. “They were giving me pitches to hit, and it’s a good ballpark to hit, the wind’s blowing out all the time I feel like. I struck a few times (on Sunday), but I got one pitch to hit and I put it over the fence.”

Fisher foresees big things from McCasland this summer.

“I think he got the cycle in 6 ABs, he’s a special player,” said Fisher. “ He’s a pretty humble guy off the field, and competes and gives us some good at-bats. Defensively he’s pretty good, too. I think he’s going to be a fan favorite and also a team favorite. I think he’s going to be a leader on this team.

Though it’s only been a couple of days, McCasland is loving Humboldt so far.

“It’s awesome,” he said. “These fans love us and I haven’t even met any of them. It’s a good atmosphere and I’m loving it.”

The atmosphere was as “awesome” as ever on opening weekend. On Saturday night, 1,559 fans packed into the Arcata Ball Park to welcome the Crabbies back into their lives for the 70th consecutive summer. Sunday wasn’t quite as packed, but those who were there went home happy after a perfect start to the year.

It took some work to make it perfect however, as the Indians took the early lead with a rapid-fire second inning rally. With two outs, five consecutive Fairfield hitters found a way to put the ball through the left side of the infield against starter Johnny Melero for a 5-1 lead.

But under their new coach the Crabs never panicked.

“I told them, ‘Don’t stress, just put some good swings on it,” said Fisher. “We had enough time to bounce back.”

And bounce back they did, thanks in large part to McCasland’s homer in the third, which made it 5-4. They would tie the game later in the inning on an RBI double by EJ Stanton.

Two runs in the sixth on hits by Beau Bozett and Taylor Tempel put the Crabs up for good. Brian Bynum picked up the win in relief of Melero.

On Saturday, Andrew Nelson got the call on the mound for the opener, and held the Indians in check until the Crabs’ offense could get rolling. And once it got rolling, it couldn’t be stopped. It started with back-to-back doubles by McCasland and AB Blanchett for a 1-0 lead after four innings.

That opened the flood gates, as they scored in every inning the rest of the way, ending the game a few minutes early when Alex Crosby doubled home Bozett in the eighth to invoke the 10-run rule.

The Crabs will get a few days off now to soak in opening weekend before returning to the field on Wednesday, when they play the Valley Bears at 7 p.m. And if the first two games are any indication, it’s going to be a fun season.

“This seems like a good group of guys,” said McCasland. “I’m looking forward to this summer.”

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