Lefthander Ben Carrasco struck out 11 batters in only five innings to pace Stuart Hall to a 13-1 win over the St. Vincent baseball team on a chilly Treasure Island on Friday afternoon.
Carrasco had all his pitches working, allowing only four base runners in a game that was halted after the bottom of the fifth inning when the Knights sent nine batters to the plate and scored the final five runs.
The crafty senior was the same pitcher who faced the Mustangs in the first round of the North Coast Section playoffs last season, and gave up a seventh-inning run on a suicide squeeze play called by St. Vincent coach Gary Galloway.
The win by the Knights evened their early season record at 3-3, while St. Vincent fell to 1-1.
It was a sunny day that cooled on the island diamond with a cross wind from San Francisco Bay blowing out to right field and the wind made a difference. Balls struck in the air had a tendency to be wind aided toward the fence, and both teams took early advantage.
St. Vincent struck quickly in the first inning when an opposite field fly ball hit by sophomore George Sammon dropped for three bases. Alex Neve wasted no time picking on the next pitch by Carrasco, grounding it to second base to drive in Sammon.
Neve started pitching for the Mustangs, and ran into trouble immediately when he got into a bases loaded jam with nobody out. Gerald Reader then bounced a single into left field to score one run, and another crossed the plate when the ball was juggled in the outfield.
Carrasco made the lead hold up. as he got into a groove in the second inning, striking out the side on only 12 pitches. Two St. Vincent hitters were dispatched on third called strikes when breaking pitches caught the corner.
The big inning in the contest came in the bottom of the second when Stuart Hall got a couple of runners aboard on a seeing-eye single and a walk. With one out, a short infield fly on an attempted bunt was grabbed quickly and whisked to shortstop Mitch Sheppard ahead of the retreating runner at second, but the runner was ruled safe. Galloway came on the field to question the critical call, but got no satisfaction.
he play turned out to be pivotal because Carrasco lofted a fly ball four pitches later that floated over the right field fence for three runs, and completely broke open the contest.
Neve was lifted after only three innings, and his fate could have been batter, but his pitches were up, leading to three walks and the big blow by Carrasco.
Sophomore Sky Doble finished the final two frames for the Mustangs, getting valuable game experience.
Neve, the top hitter for St. Vincent last season at .432, rolled a single into center field in the top of the third inning to go along with his RBI earlier.
Mustang catcher Dusty Oliver had a solid game defensively, digging out several pitches out of the dirt to hold base runners.
Carrasco wound up three for three for the defending Bay Counties West champions and drove in four runs.
St. Vincent split its opening two games after defeating University of San Francisco, 5-4, on Wednesday at home. Neve had three hits and Sammon and Will Nevin added two each. Sheppard started on the hill and got credit for the win for the Mustangs.