Saints rise to occasion with exciting win over Blues

SAN LUIS OBISPO- In the first game of their only overnight roadtrip of the season, the Arroyo Seco Saints (12-8) fed off the unique environment and rode lights-out pitching and timely, clutch hitting to A 4-2 victory over the San Luis Obispo Blues (10-10).  

On a scorching Saturday in SLO, the Saints wanted to build off their hot performance at the plate the night before against the SunRays.  

Easton Elliot (Portal) kept up his red-hot hitting of late with a two-out double, but the Saints couldn’t turn it into a run.  

However, perhaps even more importantly, the Saints needed to start well on the mound, as first inning runs have come back to haunt them in most of their losses. Luckily, Danny Veloz (Hawaii) had a very clean first inning, striking out one and inducing two groundouts while allowing only one baserunner that didn’t score. 

To make the clean first even sweeter, the Saints struck first offensively in the top of the second. Adrian Lopez (Southern California) led off the inning with a double, and the next batter Nick Lazzara (Trinity) knocked him right in with an RBI single. The Saints looked like they were going to put up a crooked number in the inning, as Ryan Scott (Incarnate Word) singled and Tyler Gordon (Miami Ohio) walked. But the Blues stranded the bases loaded and the Saints lead stood at 1-0.  

The Saints lead unfortunately didn’t last long, however. One baserunner followed by an RBI hit was all it took for the Blues too, and the game was knotted at 1. Fortunately, Veloz induced a flyout and then picked up his second strikeout to end the inning.  

That score held through the third. Elliot picked up his second hit of the game and Veloz induced an inning-ending double play to highlight the inning for the Saints.  

The Saints put up a good threat to score in the top of the fourth. A walk by Scott and a single by Crew McChesney (Brigham Young) put runners on first and second with nobody out. But neither came around to score as the Blues retired three straight.  

And to make the empty rally hurt just a little more, the SunRays took the lead for the first time in the contest on a passed ball. Veloz did well to limit the damage in what would prove to be the last inning of his outing.  

Elliot reached base for already his third time of the game in the top of the fifth via a walk, and appeared to advance to third on a throwing error. But after further discussion, the umpires ruled him out for not touching second base, effectively killing the Saints’ rally as they went scoreless again.  

Saints’ vet Carter Herrera (Cal State San Bernardino) came on for his first appearance of the season in the bottom of the fifth and looked very impressive. He struck out two Blues and, helped by a great diving play by Elliot, pitched a one-two-three inning.  

The Saints looked to be off to another promising start of a rally in the top of the sixth, as Lazzara and Scott both hit their second singles of the game to put runners on first and second with nobody out. The basepaths came back to haunt the Saints again however, as Lazzara was picked off after a failed bunt attempt and the Saints sixth went scoreless again.

Herrera came back out for a second inning of work and was strong once again, picking up another K and allowing only one baserunner.  

The seventh inning couldn’t have been scripted much better for the Saints, who loaded the bases with one out on two walks and a single by Joey Donnelly (UC Berkeley) with one out. But, after another out and two strikes on Scott, it looked like another rally would fizzle out for the Saints. But then, with his back against the wall, Scott crushed a single, his third of the game, to knock in two runs and give the Saints the lead.  

The hit was great for the Saints, but it was especially gratifying that it came from Scott. The right fielder came into the game having really struggled at the plate all summer, hitting only .108 on the season. So the big RBI couldn’t have come at a better time for Scott, who pumped his fist exuberantly when he reached base after the go-ahead hit. It was easy to imagine what was going through his mind in that moment.  

“Pure excitement,” Scott said, on what he felt as he pumped his fist. “Getting a hit with two strikes like that with runners in scoring position is something that needs to happen, but it’s hard to come by. It was a cool feeling. Cool to get my boys fired up. I feel like everyone was on my back, and it was the whole team in that at-bat.”  

That team support has meant a lot to Scott this summer, especially through his early struggles.  

“A lot of what I’ve seen in summer ball is nothing like what we have here,” Scott said. “This is a tight-knit group of guys that love each other. We love to see each other win and that’s something rare, at least in my experience in summer ball, usually everybody’s just focused on themselves. We wanna see each other win, and compete, and be dogs.”  

After a 3-for-3 line with three singles, two RBIs, and two walks, Head Coach Aaron Milam didn’t understate the significance of a game like this for a player like Scott.  

“I think Ryan Scott comes out of the end of that a little revived,” Milam said.  

McChesney extended the lead with an RBI single of his own to make the score 4-2, and all of the Saints went into the bottom of the seventh feeling great.  

Speaking of feeling great, Herrera fired another one-two-three inning in his third inning of work, showing no signs of fatigue or rust in his first appearance of the season.  

Unfortunately, the Saints couldn’t add on in the eighth. In a bit of a risky move, Herrera went out for his fourth inning of work. Coming on in relief and this being his first game, keeping him on the mound was a bit of a risk. But Milam decided to stick with him because he was dealing.  

He did finally start to show signs of fatigue, giving up a single and walk with one out. But Lazzara picked him up in a big way, gunning out a runner trying to steal third with a perfect throw to make it two outs with only a runner on first. Herrera was then able to induce a flyout to end the threat, making it four innings of shutout relief.  

Milam was enthused, but not at all surprised, at Herrera’s performance.  

“Carter is an absolute bulldog,” Milam said. “It’s like watching a surgeon, what he does with four pitches.”  

Indeed, the four innings of shutout ball with four strikeouts and only two hits given up were what Herrera considers business as usual.  

“You’ve just gotta stay levelminded and think it’s 0-0 every time you go out there and just have fun,” Herrera said.  

On the offensive side, Scott reached base for his aforementioned fifth time in the top of the ninth with his second walk, but the Saints didn’t score. So, it was still 4-2 heading into the bottom of the ninth.  

Braydon Sanford (Oral Roberts) came on to pitch the ninth, hoping to close out one of the Saints’ most well-rounded wins of the year. The Blues put up a good fight, putting runners on first and second with nobody out. But, Sanford was able to battle back and get a strikeout for a huge first out of the inning. And then, all it took was a ground ball to the sure-gloved Gordon, who took the baseball to second himself and flung it on to first for a game-ending double play that silenced the San Luis Obispo crowd.  

The Saints will look to take the momentum from such a feel-good win into tomorrow afternoon’s rematch against the Blues at 2pm back at Sinsheimer Park. Spencer Seid (UC San Diego) is the probable starter for the Saints.  



  • Saints reporter Ethan Inman (Southern California)  
  • Saints photographer Noah Pineda (UT Austin) 





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Nick Gorman | (805) 252-7954 |

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