Pat Caulfield’s Pershing Park homecoming turned into a Fourth of July fireworks display on Saturday.
The former Santa Barbara City College baseball star, now a starting outfielder for UCLA, ignited a 35-2 rout for the Santa Barbara Foresters over the Bakersfield Braves in a game that was called after eight innings.
The 35 runs were a club record for the Foresters (4-0) who have now outscored their opposition 72-6.
Caulfield, a first-team all-leaguer for SBCC in 2019 and a .302 hitter at UCLA this spring, led the onslaught by going 4-for-6 with five RBIs and five runs scored. The Foresters had 30 hits in the game which included four home runs — all of which were hit during a 12-run sixth inning.
Caulfield, who had gone hitless in seven official at-bats before Saturday’s game, had an RBI single in the fourth, both a single and a two-run double in the fifth, and a two-run triple in the sixth.
He used his speed to score Santa Barbara’s first run in the third inning. He walked, stole second base and then stole third before the pitch was even thrown. He wound up scoring on a wild pitch.
The Foresters added another run that inning — also without the benefit of a hit. Jace Jung reached first on a dropped third strike, took second on Christian Franklin’s walk, stole third and scored on Branden Boissiere’s ground out.
The explosions came after that with a six-run fourth inning, a 10-run fifth, and a 12-run sixth.
Four Foresters hit two-run doubles in the fifth: Peyton Graham, Matthew McLain, Christian Encarnacion and Caulfield.
McLain had his fourth multi-hit game in as many days, going 2-for-4 to actually drop his season batting average to .600 (9-for-15). His brother Sean replaced him at shortstop and went 3-for-4 with a three-run home run. Boissiere and Ryan Holgate also had three hits in the game.
Santa Barbara’s four homers in the sixth included Encarnacion’s third in as many games (he sat out Thursday’s contest). Encarnacion went 4-for-5 and is now batting .615 (8-for-13) with five extra-base hits and 10 RBIs — four of which came on Saturday.
Jack O’Dowd and Sean McLain both added three-run homers in the sixth. Holgate followed McLain’s blast with a home run of his own in the next at-bat.
Starting pitcher Luke Taggart, the oldest Forester and a senior at Incarnate Word University, got the win by throwing four shut-out innings. The second-year Forester allowed just two hits and a walk while striking out eight — two each inning.
Santa Barbara’s four pitchers combined on a three-hitter with 17 strikeouts. Ian Churchill, a former San Marcos and SBCC star who now pitches for Arizona, joined the Foresters on Saturday after pitching against them on Thursday for the Santa Barbara Grizzlies. He didn’t allow a hit in his one inning of relief against Bakersfield, striking out one.
Santa Barbara High graduate Bryce Warrecker, who struck out five batters in two innings of relief in Wednesday’s season opener, struck out the side in both the fifth and sixth on Saturday.
Bakersfield finally scored in the eighth against Blake Adams when Jacob Ruley hit a two-run homer. Adams capped the Forester victory with his second strikeout of the inning.
The Foresters will complete their opening week of play today at 2 p.m. against the Inland Empire Buccaneers. City officials are not allowing spectators at the games because of COVID-19 restrictions.