MALIBU, Calif. Â Junior transfer Colin Rooney’s second three-run homer of the week gave Orange a 6-3 victory over Blue in Game 1 of the 2008 Blue and Orange World Series Wednesday afternoon at Pepperdine’s Eddy D. Field Stadium.
With sophomore left hander Scott Alexander (Windsor, Calif./Cardinal Newman HS) on the hill, Rooney (Yorba Linda, Calif./Saddleback College) drilled the first pitch he saw over the left centerfield wall with one out in the eighth. The ball landed near the same location as his eighth-inning bomb from Sunday’s 14-3 win against Long Beach State.
Rooney’s blast completed Orange’s comeback and gave senior Doug Konoske (Carlsbad, Calif./La Costa Canyon HS) more than enough run support to seal the victory. Konoske pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth with two strikeouts.
Orange’s eighth inning started with freshman Brian Humphries (El Cajon, Calif./Granite Hills HS) reaching on a double up the middle that took a wicked hop over the top of shortstop Bryce Mendonca (San Leandro, Calif./Chabot JC). Humphries was then sacrificed to third by Bobby Cozine (Highland Ranch, Colo./Thunder Ridge HS) and Ryan Heroy (Henderson, Nev./Green Valley HS) was intentionally walked by Alexander to get runners on the corners.
The intentional walk can be tough to defend; however, both Heroy and Rooney were having good days at the plate so the free pass made sense. Plus, the bottom half of the lineup behind Rooney had already struck out five times and grounded into three double plays. That strikeout total was raised to seven after Alexander struck out the five and six batters following Rooney’s home run.
Prior to the aforementioned eighth-inning dramatics, Orange had trailed most of the game and didn’t light the scoreboard until the fourth when Heroy doubled in Humphries from second base off Matt Bywater (Thousand Oaks, Calif./Thousand Oaks HS), which cut Blue’s lead to 2-1.
Blue appeared destined to get that run back plus a lot more in the fifth after sophomore Keven Inman (Bakersfield, Calif./Garces HS) walked the first three batters, but he managed to escape the jam as quickly as he got into it thanks to some heads-up fielding.
A Cody Yount (Paradise Valley, Ariz./Chaparral HS) sacrifice fly to left scored the runner from third to give Blue a 3-1 lead, but then its freshman leadoff man Ryan Van Amburg (Campbell, Calif./St. Francis HS) was caught trying to steal third and Aaron Gates (Villa Park, Calif./Orange Lutheran HS) proceeded to ground out to end the inning.
Gates took over on the mound in the bottom of the fifth and was immediately greeted by a Miles Silverstein (Bell Canyon, Calif./Calabasas HS) single before issuing a walk to sophomore R.W. Zeller (Milwaukie, Ore./Rex Putnam HS).
A sac bunt by newcomer Mike Hole advanced the runners to second and third, which set the stage for freshman Casey Rhoades’ (Thousand Oaks, Calif./Westlake HS) game-tying hit, a chopper up the middle of a drawn-in infield that allowed Silverstein and Zeller to score with ease.
Gates settled down after that hit by striking out four of the next nine batters he faced.
Seniors Nathan Newman (Houston, Texas/Houston Christian HS) and Robert Dickmann (Woodland Hills, Calif./Notre Dame HS) were the respective starters for Orange and Blue. Newman struck out four through three innings of work and gave up two runs, only one of which was earned.
Dickmann surrendered only one hit through two innings while striking out three.
Newman was tagged for single runs in the second and third. A Rooney throwing error from the left side allowed Gates to score the game’s first run, and then Blue made it 2-0 as Yount’s single to center plated Van Amburg from second.
Junior transfer Bryce Uhrig (Santa Barbara, Calif./Santa Barbara City College) was effective in relief for Orange in between Inman and Konoske, striking out three batters through the sixth and seventh innings.
Uhrig stranded freshman Tyler Brubaker (Valencia, Calif./Saugus HS) at third in the sixth inning with back-to-back strikeouts of Alan Cheatham and Leo Fletes (Oceanside, Calif./Rancho Buena Vista HS).
In the seventh, Van Amburg was left standing at second as Uhrig got Mendonca to go down swinging and Yount on a tapper back to the mound.
The Blue and Orange resume their World Series with Game 2 set for Friday at 1 p.m. Game 3 is scheduled for Saturday at noon.
-- By Chris Macaluso, Pepperdine Sports Information