The Giants got strong outings from starting pitchers Tyler Blair, Mikey Bender and Sam Rice and paired it with strong defense to sweep Marin Catholic in a three game series.
4/6: Tyler Blair got the call as the Giants starting pitcher to open the three-game set against MC at Moody Field and he did not disappoint, going six strong shutout innings in a 10-0 drubbing of the Wildcats.
After Blair retired the Wildcats in order in the top of the first, the Giants served notice against MC’s tough lefty starting pitcher Van Larson of the kind of series that it was going to be. Cole McGowan got things started with a walk and Charlie Welch followed with a line drive single to center. After a double steal from McGowan and Welch, Luca Bove followed with a deep sac fly to center on which McGowan scored and Welch advanced to third. Ben Cohen followed with a sharp single to left to drive in Welch for a 2-0 lead. Sam Rice then reached on an error by MC’s shortstop. After another double steal by the Giants, Charlie Ginsburg singled through a drawn in MC infield to plate Cohen and Rice and after one inning the Giants were up 4-0.
Blair took that great start for the Giants and made it stick, surrendering only three hits in six innings of work, striking out three and walking only one batter. Blair’s was locating well with a plus fastball all day and mixing in a healthy dose of curves and changeups to keep the MC hitters off balance.
Four runs would have been plenty for Blair, but the Giants added two runs in each of the third, fifth and sixth innings, aided by some suboptimal defense from the Wildcats.
Cohen paced the offense with three hits, two RBIs and two runs scored. Welch and Bender each notched two hits.
4/8: After cruising in the series opener against MC, the Giants won a nail biter in the second game of the series, winning by a 3-2 count in Kentfield.
The Giants scored single runs in the first and second innings, with Sam Rice absorbing a painful RBI on a bases loaded hit by pitch in the first and line drive machine Welch singling in Bender in the second.
Bender got the starting assignment for the Giants, and although his command was not there at times, he showed a lot of grit in working out of trouble on several occasions over the course of his six and two-thirds innings and 104 pitches. On the day Bender tallied eight strikeouts, and many of them were key with MC runners on base as Bender also walked three and hit three MC batters.
The Giants were leading 3-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh. After MC put runners on first and second with one out, Bender induced a grounder to shortstop that had the look of a game ender. Welch whipped it to Ginsburg for the force at second, but the MC baserunner came in hard at second and Ginsburg’s throw to first was wild and bounced into the MC dugout, allowing a run to score and the MC runner to advance to second. So instead of game over it was MC with a runner on second and two out.
After MC’s next hitter was hit by a pitch to put the winning run on first, Coach Firenzi summoned Kent Goodman in relief of Bender. With the game on the line, Goodman coolly induced a grounder to Welch at short for the force out to Ginsburg at second for the final out.
Welch and Bove led the Giants in base hits on the day with two each and Rice had two RBIs.
4/9: The Giants finished off the three game sweep of MC with a 4-1 victory behind another strong start from Rice and some great work on defense.
Continuing a trend established in the first two games of the series, the Giants again jumped on MC early with two runs in the top of the first. McGowan got things started nicely by cracking a line drive double over the head of MC’s right fielder. Charlie Welch then reached on an error by MC’s third baseman and Bove followed with a base on balls. Cohen drove in one with a forceout and Rice followed with an RBI single to right to complete the inning’s scoring.
Rice was looking good on the mound and also had MC totally befuddled on the base paths. The lefty picked two runners off of first base with a very deceptive move that caught MC’s baserunners flat footed and thrown out by plenty. And in the bottom of the third with MC runners on first and third and two outs and the score 3-1 in favor of the Giants, MC’s runner at first took off for second before Rice even began his windup in an attempt to get in a rundown and give the runner on third a window to score before being tagged out. But Rice had it sniffed out all the way, and calmly stepped off the rubber, took a step toward the runner between first and second and faked a throw. The MC base runner on third bit hard on the fake and broke for home, but Rice threw him out by ten feet to end the inning.
The Giants came up with another game changing defensive play in the bottom of the fifth. With two outs and a runner on first, MC hit a long double over Blair’s head and off the fence in left. With two outs and the MC runner moving on contact, it seemed like a no brainer that MC would score to cut the Giants’ lead in half. Blair’s throw back to the infield sailed over cut off man Welch, but Ginsburg had him backed up and unleashed a one-hop strike to the plate to cut down the MC runner and preserve the two run lead.
The Giants added an insurance run in the top of the seventh on a Bove double to score Welch. Goodman relieved Rice and cruised through the final two innings, striking out two and consistently freezing MC’s hitters with a big over the top curve that he was featuring in any count.
Welch and Bove again led the Giants in hits for the day with two each. Welch scored three times and Bove had two RBIs.
Next week the Giants play a pair against Novato – Tuesday at Novato and at Moody on Friday (both games 4:30pm).