The Crabs returned to Arcata weary from a 2-4 road trip, but quickly put it behind them, reeling off six straight wins
by Erik Fraser/Humboldt Crabs
ARCATA (July 6, 2014) — The road was rocky, but at home this past week, it was nothing but smooth sailing for the Crabs.
After a disappointing 2-4 record on their only road trip of the season, the Crabs returned to the Arcata Ball Park and promptly won six straight. They dominated Fontanetti’s Athletics in a midweek series by a combined score of 25-4, then ground out three one-run victories against the Solano Mudcats to push their record to 19-9.
“It was outstanding,” said Crabs Manager Tyson Fisher. “Not only getting a sweep against a quality team with three one-run ballgames, but getting the weeklong sweep was pretty good. I like how the guys are playing right now.”
After such a lopsided series against Fontanetti’s, was Fisher worried that his team would become complacent?
“No and, I think that that all starts on Friday night with (Andrew) Nelson,” said Fisher. “I think that our pitching was outstanding all weekend, and players feed off of that.”
Nelson earned Fisher’s praises with 7 2/3 innings of shutout ball in the opener against the Mudcats. He needed to be good as the Crabs only managed a single run themselves.
“He’s been the guy,” Fisher said of Nelson, “and he works at it, to get better each and every start. He has a plan in mind, and he does it all week long, to get to where he’s ready for Friday night. I can’t say enough about him.”
Jake Shull followed up Nelson’s performance with another solid outing on Saturday. He allowed just one run on four hits over six innings before allowing Mack Meyer and Zach Williams to finish the job in a 2-1 win.
The welcome-back winning streak almost ended Sunday however, as the Crabs had to battle back twice to beat the Mudcats 6-5 in extra innings in their series final. The second comeback came in the 12th inning after a Nick Spini single scored Alvaro Rubacaba to give Solano a 5-4 lead.
Trent Goodrich started the bottom of the 12th with a single, moved to second on an errant pickoff attempt, and made his way to third on a groundout by Alex Crosby. Morgan McCasland then ripped a triple just over the head of left fielder Nick Perez to score Goodrich and tie the game, breathing new life into a weary and sun-baked crowd.
With Beau Bozett pinch-running for McCasland, the Mudcats issued intentional passes to both EJ Stanton and Taylor Tempel, loading the bases for AB Blanchet.
With one out, all Blanchet needed to do was hit a fly ball deep enough to score Bozett. Well, Blanchet left no doubt, crushing a ball high and deep to right. The right fielder didn’t even bother to look up, and as Bozett scampered home with the winning run, the Crabs poured out of the dugout to mob Blanchet near first base.
For a while, it didn’t look like the Crabs would even get to extra innings. Solano jumped ahead 4-0 after two innings, thanks in part to a pair of outfield hits that barely eluded diving Crabs outfielders Ansel Cecil and Kyle Moses.
Blanchet finally got the Crabs on the board when he singled in Brent Gillespie in the fifth. But what could have been a bigger rally was squashed by Mudcats reliever Donnie Gardiner, who induced two strikeouts and a popup, leaving Crabs standing at second and third.
The game-tying rally would come in the seventh, gift-wrapped, and tied with a bow by the Mudcats. With two outs, the bases loaded and a run already in, McCasland and Gillespie both “took one for the team,” forcing in two runs to knot things up at 4 and set up the extra-innings drama.
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