It was another offensive display by the Santa Barbara Foresters on Wednesday night against the Santa Maria Pea Soup.
Ryan Holgate finished 4-for-5 with three runs batted in and Christian Encarnacion was 3-for-5 with three RBIs to lead the Foresters to a 14-2 victory at Pershing Park. It was Santa Barbara’s 10th straight win to improve its overall record to 23-3.
As much as the Foresters did at the plate with 13 hits, which included a solo home run by Jace Jung — his eighth of the season — Santa Barbara manager Bill Pintard was gushing with pride when it came time to talk about the performance of his starting pitcher, Nick Nastrini.
The ace of the UCLA pitching staff allowed a first-inning home run, and that was it. Nastrini tossed five solid innings, during which he allowed the one run on one hit with eight strikeouts and four walks to earn the win.
“Nastrini was good,” Pintard said. “He was 91 to 94 (with his fastball) and he was really attacking hitters. He got into a little bit of a funk where he’d strike out two guys then he’d walk a guy. He did that two innings in a row.”
When Nastrini wasn’t getting in his own way with occasional wildness, he was nearly unhittable with his electric fastball mixed with a slider and changeup.
“There was no hard contact against him tonight,” Pintard added. “His fastball really had good life and then his breaking ball was good.”
Nastrini’s only mistake was when he allowed the first-inning home run to Raul Shah. It came on a changeup that stayed up in the strike zone.
“He throws two kinds of changeups,” Pintard said. “He threw a four-seam one on that one and got hit. But outside of that, he was really, really good.”
Another UCLA standout player, Pat Caulfield, also had a productive night at the plate and on the bases.
Caulfield, who hit in the leadoff spot for the Foresters, finished 3-for-5 with two runs batted in. He also stole two bases, making him 25-for-25 this season.
“He’s a prolific base stealer,” Pintard said. “We talk about taking ownership of the batter’s box … well he takes ownership of the basepaths. Speed kills, and he’s proof of that with as much as he disrupts the pitcher with his speed.”
The Foresters are ending their regular season this week with two more home games tonight and Friday night before they take off for a doubleheader on Saturday in the Best of the West Tournament.
From there, the team will fly to Wichita, Kansas, to compete in the National Baseball Congress World Series. Santa Barbara has won the tournament a record seven times. The Foresters first game is scheduled for Tuesday night.