Christian Encarnacion drove in four runs on a pair of clutch hits to guide the Santa Barbara Foresters to a 7-5 victory over the So Cal Giants Friday night at Pershing Park.
The Oklahoma State product drilled a two-run home run to centerfield in the bottom half of the sixth and followed that with a two-run double to right in the seventh. Both of Encarnacion’s hits came with two outs.
His team-leading ninth home run of the summer tied the ball game at 5 and his double put the Foresters (25-3) ahead for good. His 4 RBIs on Friday helped boost his season total to 41.
With the win, Santa Barbara closes the regular season having won 12 in a row. The club will take part in the Best of the West Tournament starting today in San Bernardino.
Matthew McLain got the Foresters on the board in the bottom of the first, sending the first pitch he saw over the outfield fence to give Santa Barbara a 1-0 lead.
Former Santa Barbara High pitcher Derrek True pitched the first five innings for the Foresters, allowing six hits and two runs, one earned. He struck out eight and issued one walk.
He was relieved by D.J. Contreras in the sixth, who allowed a pair of home runs as the Giants took a 5-1 lead. So Cal’s Sam Biller led off the inning with a homer before Brady Reynolds hit a two-run shot.
A RBI groundout by Noah Cardenas cut the deficit to 5-2 in the bottom of the sixth. Ryan Holgate followed with a two-out, ground rule double to make it 5-3 before Encarnacion went deep to tie the game. Santa Barbara loaded the bases with two outs, though Matthew McLain grounded out to short to end the threat.
In the bottom of the seventh, Jace Jung led off the inning with a walk. Cardenas reached on a bloop single and a balk by Giants’ pitcher Nick Bautista moved the runners to second and third. Encarnacion then drove them both home with his double.
Titus Groeneweg pitched 1 2/3 innings in relief, but was taken out with one out in the ninth having issued a pair of walks. Jack Cunningham registered back to back strikeouts to end the game.
Santa Barbara is set to face off against the Inland Valley Bucs at 2:30 p.m. today, followed by the Inland Valley Pirates at 6 p.m.