Carden pitches Santa Fe to seasons first win
By Karen Boehler
Pecos League writer
SANTA FE — The Fuego got their first victory of the season in a big way Friday, pounding out 18 runs on 20 hits vs. Taos, while exceptional pitching from starter Austen Carden and reliever Jared Bowser plus solid defense led to an 18-3 victory.
“I feel great,” said acting Santa Fe manager Chunk Sarnak. “You win some, you lose some. It’s part of baseball, but you get out there and give them hell the next game. And we did. I’m so proud of my boys. So proud of my boys. They did really good. They stepped up. They did their job when they needed to. They moved runners over. They got on base. We kept putting pressure on, and that’s what our game plan was all day: is put pressure on them. Make them beat us, as opposed to us beating ourselves like maybe the last two games.”
The Fuego led 10-0 after three before finally giving the Blizzard two runs in the fifth, but that was as close as the score would ever be.
After a 0-0 first inning, Santa Fe went up 2-0 in the second on a Larry Rodriguez home run, a single, balk and Carden put out that scored Devonte Odoms. It was the first home run for the Fuego this year, and Rodriguez said it felt good.
“It felt good, having my first professional home run. It’s a great feeling, just to see one, hit one and let it go.”
The Fuego made it 7-0 after three, scoring five runs on only two hits. There were no Blizzard errors, but pitcher Richard Ruff walked four, hit one and the hits were a double by Kyle Zimmerman — who later stole home — and a 3 RBI homer by Jimmie Maxwell.
Taos got two runs on a walk to Chris Constantino followed by a Brennan May home run, but the Fuego matched that tally in the bottom of the fifth when Charlie Calamia and Josh Barnett each singled and came home on an Eric Scott single.
Santa Fe made it 14-2 in the sixth on five singles and a double, then, after finally getting shut down in the seventh by reliever Mike Russo, added another four in the eighth when Calamia started out with a home run, then, with two out, Eric Scott walked, Rodriguez doubled, Odoms singled, Maxwell walked and, pinch hitting for Carden, Chris Wakefield doubled.
THe Blizzard got their final run in the eighth off Bowser, who gave up a single to Blair Springfield, hit John Apostolo then gave up an Eric McGee RBI single before closing out the game with two strike outs.
All that hitting was great — of everyone who went to the plate, only the two pitchers were hitless — but Sarnack had special praise for Carden, who had a no hitter through five — something unheard of in Fort Marcy Park — and closed out eight innings with a one-hitter.
“That kid absolutely dealt today,” Sarnak said. “I was so blown away by the way he was pitching today. And also being at Fort Marcy, the guy almost threw a complete game. That’s hard to do out here.”
“I feel great,” Carden said of the win. “We had a rough little start in the first two games, and just wanted to get one in the win column, and it feels good to finally be there.”
So what was going through the pitcher’s mind as he was doing something almost unheard of in the hitter’s park?
“Just keep it rolling,” he said. “Just give my team the best chance to win. Just keep everything going good. Hopefully we can take this and get some momentum and keep winning and start a winning streak from here.”
That’s what the Fuego will try to do Saturday when they close out the series with the Blizzard. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.
Phil Grondin contributed to this article
Austin Carden pitched eight full innings in Fort Marcy Park, allowing only one hit, while leading Santa Fe to their first win in 2013. (Photo by Phil Grondin)
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