Erceg’s 9th Inning Grand Slam Propels Pearl to Finals

Pearl heading to the finals to take on the Los Angeles Brewers for the 2nd consecutive season.

 Aug 1, 2015 San Luis Obispo, CA

Neptune Beach Pearl 10, Conejo Oaks 6

The CCL has had more than its fair share of dramatic home runs this year (like Tommy Bell’s all-star walk-off and Granger Studdard’s 3-run walk-off four days later) but no other home run was as important as Lucas Erceg’s ninth inning grand slam tonight for the Neptune Beach Pearl’s 10-6 win over the Conejo Oaks which sent the Pearl to the CCL championship game for the second year in a row.

Trailing 6-2 with three outs to go, Erceg (Cal) hit a 1-0 pitch over the fence at Sinsheimer Park with three runners aboard to tie the game in dramatic fashion. Erceg’s blast was setup by a leadoff double by Orlando Garcia (Texas Tech) off Oaks closer Kevin Torres (St Johns). One out and two walks later the bases were loaded and Erceg changed the course of the game with one swing.

Torres managed to finish the inning without any more damage, striking out the next two batters he faced, and the game went into extra innings. Then, with the score still tied at 6-6, the Pearl plated four runs on five consecutive hits and a sacrifice fly in the top of the 12th and held the Oaks scoreless to cement the win. Theron Kay (Baylor) recorded the win today pitching three scoreless innings in relief. Torres, who stayed in the game until the 12th inning, gave up eight runs in recording the loss.

With the win the Pearl advance to tomorrow’s championship game in a rematch from last year’s finale against the Los Angeles Brewers, who also beat the Oaks earlier today

Neptune Beach Pearl 5, San Luis Obispo Blues 4

In what would be the first of two extra-inning elimination games played today by the Neptune Beach Pearl, the Pearl needed eleven innings to take the lead against the San Luis Obispo Blues and then three more outs to advance in the CCL playoffs 5-4. Johnathan Tripp (Texas Tech) struck out ten Blues over six innings of work, but it was DeVon Golden (Sonoma State), who had seven strikeouts in four-plus innings, who picked up the win. And once the Pearl got the go ahead run across in the 11th on a leadoff single by JB Moss (Texas A&M) and an error by the Blues, Evan Rutter (Chorpus Christi) came in and pitched a 1-2-3 inning to pick up the save.

Moss led the Pearl’s offense with 3 hits in the game, including 2 doubles, while Eric Sapp (Portland) and Matt Miller (Hawaii) each had a pair of two-out RBI. Corey Hassel (Oklahoma State) led the Blues’ offense with his second 3-hit game of the playoffs, and Ryan Sluder (Oklahoma State) also repeated his output with two hits in both Blues playoff games.

Cannon Chadwick (Arkansas) matched Tripp’s ten strikeouts for the game over seven plus innings, but did not figure in the decision. The loss went to Bryan Sammons (Western Carolina) who gave up the winning run in his only inning of work.

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