The SBL Bucs hosted the California Cage Rats Saturday at Los Angeles Valley College, storming their way to a 16-4 victory. After dropping the season opener, the Bucs were ready to get things going in the right direction heading into their matchup against the Cage Rats.
The Bucs offense and pitching were in total control Saturday, as the Bucs took a commanding lead in the third inning that they never gave back.
The Bucs sent Left-hander Ian Nord (1-0) to make his first start of the season, after pitching a scoreless ninth inning in his season debut. The situational understanding was that Head Coach Bobby Livingston needed Nord to eat as many innings as he could.
After a shaky 24-pitch first inning, Nord answered the call, throwing 48 pitches throughout the next four innings. Nord did not allow more than one hit in any inning that he pitched, and was able to trust his defense to get out of situations with runners in scoring position. In his first start of the season, Nord finished with a stat line of 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, and 4 K while throwing 72 pitches.
The Bucs bullpen ensured that Nord would end the game with a victory. Right-hander Jakub Amado pitched two innings of relief, while keeping the Bucs lead at three runs after his outing. Lefty reliever Tamura came in and was perfect in his lone inning of relief, striking out two hitters in the process. Right-hander Ricardo Martinez was tasked to finish the job, allowing just one hit and striking out a hitter to seal the deal for the Bucs.
The Bucs offense was looking to spark a rally at any given moment. After mustering a run in the first two innings, the offense batted around and stormed out to six runs in the third inning, capitalized by a two-run single from shortstop Anthony Chavez. While the hitters were kept at bay for the next three innings, the Bucs exploded for a combined nine runs in the last two innings, increasing their lead from 7-4 to 16-4.
Carrying the offense in those innings were right fielder Noah Nicholas, who hit a two-run triple in the seventh inning, and Luke Crawshaw, who after subbing for Aaron Ruvalcaba, connected for a two-run double in the eighth inning to put the game out of reach.
“We were going through [pitch] counts, and thinking about what we were going to do in specific counts. I was able to find myself in those counts, see the ball really well, and trust my swing that I’ve always had,” said second baseman Teran Rowan, who went 2-3 with an RBI, two runs scored, and a stolen base in Saturday’s win.
Shortstop Anthony Chavez led the way for the Bucs, collecting three hits in four at bats, scoring three times, and driving in four runs. Aaron Ruvalcaba had himself a perfect day at the dish, going 3-3 with a run batted in. Center fielder Kai Moran was one of four Bucs to have a multi-hit game, batting 2-5 with a run batted in and scoring twice.
“We bounced back after that tough loss on Thursday, swung the bats pretty well today and hopefully we can keep that rolling,” said Anthony Chavez after his 3-4 performance.
The SBL Bucs will travel to Cypress College Monday to take on the O.C. Pirates, with first pitch scheduled for 4:00 p.m.