Gustafson’s complete game carries Falcons to victory over Santa Rosa
Folsom Lake sophomore relief pitcher-turned-starter Shane Gustafson fired a complete game four-hitter on Friday afternoon, leading the Falcons to a 3-1 victory at Santa Rosa and a series win over the Bear Cubs.
Gustafson’s counterpart from Santa Rosa, Patrick Keamoai, was nearly as sharp, as he held the Falcons to one run on four hits in his seven innings. But Gustafson kept the Bear Cubs in check all afternoon, allowing just two harmless singles through the first eight innings. In the ninth, a one-out double and a two-out single – the only time the Bear Cubs had more than one baserunner all day – led to Santa Rosa’s only run of the game and spoiled the possible shutout. The Falcons, meanwhile, had added two insurance runs in the top half of the ninth that turned out to be huge.
Right fielder Aidan Malm led off the ninth with his team-leading ninth home run to make it 2-0. After a walk and a sacrifice bunt, Josh Winkler scored on a Bear Cub throwing error for a 3-0 lead.
Since Gustafson was moved into the starting rotation on March 19, he has started five games for the Falcons and all have resulted in FLC victories. He’s pitched 32-1/3 innings and allowed just four earned runs, an astounding 1.12 ERA. During that span, he’s walked just four batters while striking out 25 for an impressive .80 WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched).
The Falcons will face Big 8 co-leader Sierra this week, with home games on Tuesday evening (5 p.m.) and Saturday afternoon (1 p.m.).
The Falcons hosted district rival American River for an afternoon doubleheader on Saturday, but could not taste victory as they lost two close games, 4-2 and 10-8.
In the opener, the Beavers jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, as they took advantage of three Falcon errors in the first inning. The Falcons settled down after that while pitcher Lauren Orris held the Beavers to just one run the rest of the way.
Third baseman Delana Provan had an RBI double to left field in the second inning, and Sara Thibault closed it to 3-2 with an RBI single in the fourth, but that was all the Falcons would get. They had their chances in each of the last three innings - including a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the fifth that was halted when Tatyana Rosen’s smash down the third base line was stabbed and turned into an inning-ending double play – but never pushed any more runs across.
In the second game, the Beavers again got an early lead with four in the first and two more in the second. The Falcons scratched out three second-inning runs, but found themselves in a deep hole trailing 10-3 by the fifth inning. But a huge two-out, five-run rally, helped by several walks and highlighted by Delana Provan’s RBI single, closed it to 10-8. Again, the Falcons had runners on in the final two innings but couldn’t get the timely hit they desperately needed.
The disappointing losses dropped the Falcons to 3-16 in Big 8 play and 9-23 overall. They’ll be busy this week with a game at Santa Rosa (6-12) on Tuesday, a non-conference doubleheader against Shasta (17-13) on Wednesday at FLC, and a makeup game against Modesto (0-17) on Thursday (5 p.m.) at Falcon Diamond before Saturday’s doubleheader at Sac City (9-11).
This week’s sports schedule
Tuesday, April 17 Men’s tennis at DeAnza (NorCal Regional semi-finals), 1 p.m.
Softball at Santa Rosa, 3 p.m.
Baseball vs. Sierra at FLC, 5 p.m.
Wednesday, April 18 Men’s Golf – Big 8 Tournament No. 11 at Woodbridge CC (Lodi),
Softball vs. Shasta at FLC, 12 & 2 p.m.
Thursday, April 19 Baseball at Sierra, 2:30 p.m.
Softball vs. Modesto at FLC, 5 p.m.
Saturday, April 21 Softball at Sac City, 12 and 2 p.m.
Baseball vs. Sierra at FLC, 1 p.m.