8/11/2023-Tucson Saguaros 4 San Rafael Pacifics 0
This game was played on 8/11/2023 at Albert Park
SHUTDOWN: TUCSON BLANKS SAN RAFAEL; DECIDER ON SATURDAY
Tucson 4-9-0, SAN RAFAEL 0-2-1 (Series tied at 1 win each)
After pulling away from Tucson in Thursdays Pecos League Championship Series opener, San Rafael ran into brick-wall pitching from Saguaros starter Justin Fuson and two relievers as the Arizona nine shut out the Pacifics, 4-0, in San Rafael. The Tucson win forces a third and deciding game Saturday night at Albert Park.
Fuson, a 60” right-hander who completed his senior college season at Fresno Pacific this spring, stymied the Pacific Division champions on one hit over 5.2 innings with five strikeouts. Fuson did issue four walks but none led to any blemishes on the scoreboard. He was relieved in the sixth by Daulton Montagna, a lefty out of Eastern Tennessee who limited San Rafael to one hit and a pair of walks with four Ks through the eighth before giving way to Tucson native Travis Cole, who played college ball at Memphis Christian Brothers. Cole set the Pacifics down in order with two strikeouts and closed the game with a swinging strikeout of John Bicos.
The Saguaros were led at the plate by their number nine batter, shortstop Gavy Perez-Torres, who went 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBIs. Brock Ephan contributed a pair of hits and two ribbies and Tucson scored all four of their runs off Pacific starter Jake Dent, who exited after four innings. Kohto Hasegawa tossed five commendable innings of scoreless ball out of the San Rafael bullpen but the Californians could only muster two hits from Kevin Johnson, Thursdays hero at the plate with a double, homer and two ribbies in Game One. Shutouts seemingly appear in the Pecos League as often as Halleys Comet and this one was a combined gem for the visitors.
Tucson hopes to carry enough momentum to win their third Pecos League flag since 2020 (and fourth overall) in Saturdays deciding game while San Rafael seeks to rebound and cop their first pennant since joining the circuit in 2020. Game Three is set to start at 6PM in Albert Park.