Luke Taggart admitted that he had butterflies before his first start with the Santa Barbara Foresters
It is the San Diego Waves that left with the upset stomachs, watching the hard-throwing righty strike out seven over five no-hit innings the Foresters’ 10-0 win at Pershing Park Saturday evening.
Taggart, a product of the University of Incarnate Word, pounded the strike zone, surrendering only one walk.
“It was fun to be out there with the boys and get another win,” Taggart said. “Was a little nervous coming into the game, whether I’d throw strikes or not.
“It’s a really cool opportunity to come and play with the Foresters. The winning tradition. The NBC championships. You want to help that continue.”
The Waves would pick up their only hit of the game in the sixth inning, the only blemish on the day that saw Larson Kindreich and Nico O’Donnell combined to strike out nine over the final four frames, allowing the Forester pitching staff to open with 18 scoreless innings over two days.
O’Donnell struggled finding the strike zone at the University of Texas, returning to Santa Barbara to see if Forester manager Bill Pintard could help him out.
It seemed to pay immediate dividends on Saturday.
“We saw something mechanical during a bullpen, and you saw how dominant he was tonight,” Pintard said.
A day after the Forester bats struggled to get going, the offense rapped out 10 hits, including two by Zach Presno, making his first start after arriving from Fresno State.
Presno had an RBI single and two-run double, while also the battery mate for the dominant pitching performance.
“These pitchers did a great job today, obviously they are all elite pitchers,” Presno said. “All three commanded their fastballs really well.
“I was super excited to get out here and play. I remember playing against the Foresters two summers ago and they are just a good ball club, look like they have fun.”
SBCC product Tommy Holguin had his second consecutive two-hit game for the Foresters, while Jacob Katzfey also picked up his first two hits of the summer. In what has become a tradition, the Foresters also kept the Waves off-balance by stealing seven bases, including two by Eric Kennedy.
Heading into today’s California Coastal Collegiate League opener at home against Conejo, Pintard is confident in making another run at a league title.
“I like what I see,” Pintard said.
The players are well aware of the expectation to win, something that Presno relishes only a week removed from a heartbreaking loss to Stanford the the NCAA Regionals.
“Coaching staff preached that the moment I got here. We are going to have fun, but we are going to compete,” Presno said.
First pitch today is set for 2 p.m. at Pershing Park. Listen live via News-Press radio on 1290AM or at newspress.com.