COVID-19 might have cost Bryce Warrecker his senior year of baseball at Santa Barbara High, but he has struck back with a vengeance during the summer collegiate season.
Striking out batters, that is.
The 6-foot-8 righthander whiffed 12 Texas Express hitters during six innings of relief on Thursday as the Santa Barbara Foresters capped a doubleheader sweep, 12-1, at Pershing Park. The Foresters (8-1) also romped in the opener, 10-2.
Warrecker, who has signed to pitch for Cal Poly next season, got the pitching win with his fourth dominant performance in as many appearances. He allowed just one hit and no walks.
He retired the first 15 batters he faced in relief of Kyle Luckham. Former Texas Southern star Keanu Van Kuren finally singled to lead off the top of the ninth but Warrecker responded by striking out the Express’ final three batters. He also struck out the side in the fourth — his first inning of work.
In 11 innings this summer, Warrecker has allowed just three hits and one walk with 23 strikeouts.
Luckham, sophomore ace of Cal State Fullerton’s staff, allowed just two hits and one walk in the first three innings.
Caleb Cobb’s RBI double actually put Texas ahead 1-0 in the second inning. The Foresters didn’t wait long to strike back, however.
A 3-for-3 batting game for Justin Campbell began when the Oklahoma State freshman from Simi Valley singled home Noah Cardenas in the bottom of the second. A solo home run by Jace Jung — his second of the day — then triggered a seven-run third for Santa Barbara.
UCSB-bound Nick Oakley, Warrecker’s senior classmate this spring at Santa Barbara High, capped the outburst by ripping a two-run double and scoring on a throwing error. Oakley went 2-for-5 while Peyton Graham hit a pair of doubles. Cardenas scored three times while going 2-for-4.
Jung, a freshman from Texas Tech, also tormented the Texas Express during the opener. He blasted an RBI double in the third inning and a two-run homer in the fourth. Jung has homered three times in Santa Barbara’s nine games to share the team lead with Christian Encarnacion.
Vanderbilt freshman Spencer Jones also homered in the opener, triggering a four-run fifth inning with his three-run blast.
Ian Churchill, a University of Arizona junior from San Marcos High, got the pitching win with a three-inning start. He allowed five hits but just one run and no walks with five strikeouts. Azusa Pacific lefthander Casey Dykstra allowed two hits and one run with three strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings of relief. UCSB freshman Charlie Adamson pitched a scoreless 1 2/3 innings to close out the win.