Stockton, Calif. – The Pacific Tigers took game two of their series with the San Francisco Dons 5-3 thanks to an outstanding pitching performance by freshman Ricky Reynoso and an equally excellent day at the plate by Gio Brusa. The win makes Pacific 6-3 at home this year and 2-3 in WCC play. Overall, Pacific is 8-13.
It was a matchup of left-handed freshman, as Reynoso took the mound for Pacific and Chase Gardner for USF. Reynoso set a new career high in strikeouts in his seventh Pacific start with nine, more than doubling his previous best. His previous career high was four, set in his collegiate debut against Cal Poly.
Reynoso retired 12 straight between the second and sixth inning, bookended by USF doubles. In all, the lefty would set new career bests in strikeouts with nine, innings pitched with seven, hits allowed with four, and runs allowed with zero. The win moved Reynoso's record to 2-2.
Jake Jenkins came on and got a one-out save in the ninth, giving him two saves on the season. Jenkins had never recorded a save before this season.
Pacific chased Gardner in the second inning after the freshman gave up four hits and three runs in 1.1 innings and took his third loss of the year.
Reynoso worked around a leadoff double in the first. The freshman made a great diving catch as he fell into foul territory on a popped up bunt for the first out. A strikeout followed. The defense caught USF stealing to end the inning when the man on first was caught in a rundown, followed by Kevin Sandri making the heads up play to throw to third and get the man leaning there.
In the bottom of the first, Sandri put the pressure on early with his team-leading seventh HBP. That total also put Sandri in sole possession of third in the WCC in HBPs.
Louis Mejia's double high off the leftfield wall after that to put two men in scoring position just three pitches into the game. The double gave Mejia hits in 12 of the last 13 games as well as a hit or walk in 19 of Pacific's 21 games this season.
Danny Mayer's groundout after that was enough to drive in one run, pushing his team-leading RBI total to 19. It was also Mayer's seventh RBI in the last four games. Mayer would go on to drive in another run with a homerun later in the game, giving him five multi-RBI games this year.
Mejia was unable to advance on the play but it didn't matter much thanks to Gio Brusa, who singled up the middle to drive Mejia home and make it 2-0. Brusa, who hit .364 with three runs and three RBI against USF last year, would end the day perfect, going 4-for-4 with two doubles, a run, and an RBI.
The Tigers kept the offense going in the second. Blake Barry, making just his second start this year, singled in the inning before a walk by J.P. Yakel loaded the bases. Barry has hit .429 as a starter so far for Pacific, while Yakel's walk moved him into a tie with Lucas Halstead for the team lead with seven. Yakel would end the day reaching base every plate appearance, going 3-for-3 with a walk. Sandri also drew a walk to push in a run.
Reynoso set a new career high in strikeouts in the third as he struck out the side for the first time as a Tiger. The lefty got USF's leadoff man swinging before dropping a breaking ball through the zone to get the next man looking. Reynoso battled through a long at-bat against Blake Valley before getting him with high heat, giving him five strikeouts in the game.
Barry knocked another single in the fourth, followed by an infield single by Yakel. Pacific's bottom three in the order went 4-for-5 with a walk to start the game and give Pacific an offensive boost on their way to the lead.
Mayer continued his recent power surge with his third homer in the last four games, a bomb that cleared the 405-ft. centerfield wall with ease to start the fifth. The homer was Mayer's sixth of the year, giving him sole possession of first place in the WCC. During his four-game hitting streak, Mayer has hit .429 with four runs, one double, two homeruns, and eight RBI.
Another run scored for Pacific when Brusa reached base with his second double of the day and third hit in three at-bats. Brusa took third on a wild pitch and came around to score when the throw to third bounced off Brusa's sliding foot, making it 5-0.
In the seventh, Reynoso once again struck out the side, giving him nine for the night. Reynoso had never before struck out the side and had only twice recorded multiple strikeouts in an inning going into tonight.
The three strikeouts put a perfect cap on Reynoso's career-best night, as Fineas Del Bonta-Smith came in for his team-best tenth appearance after that. Del Bonta-Smith continued what Reynoso started with a shutout 1.2 innings before allowing a three-run homer.
Jenkins came on after USF scored three runs on a homer over the leftfield wall and put another man in scoring position when a popup fell fair as the Pacific fielders collided in short left.
The final game of the Pacific-USF series will come tomorrow and will start at 2:00 pm. Tickets for the game are available online.
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