Fortuna Huskies strike first in pivotal Big 5 series

File photo – The Fortuna Huskies stretched their winning streak to six straight with a Big 5 victory over Arcata on Wednesday.

The Fortuna Huskies moved three wins clear of the chasing pack in the Big 5 with a huge 2-1 victory over the Arcata Tigers in Fortuna on Wednesday.

Cody Collins hit a solo home run and Cole Ayala hit an RBI triple for the Huskies’ only runs of the game, but that would prove to be enough thanks to some strong pitching.

Drew Franklin got the win on the mound, allowing just three hits in 5.1 innings against a red-hot Arcata lineup that came into the game riding an eight-game winning streak and averaging more than 11 runs per game during that run.

The victory was the sixth straight for the Huskies, who improved to 6-1 in the Big 5, and their third straight by two or less runs.

Arcata dropped to 2-2 in league play and is tied with McKinleyville (3-3) for second in the standings.

The Panthers’ scheduled league showdown against Del Norte on Wednesday was pushed back to Thursday.

Collins, who is enjoying a big season with the surging Huskies, finished 2-for-3 with the game-winning home run and a double.

Ayala, who has been equally impressive, was 2-for-3 with the big RBI triple and also reached base on a hit-by-pitch.

Matt Letter, Rylan Lommori and Rogan Gans each also had a base hit in the win, with Letter also walking twice and Lommori also reaching base on a walk and a hit-by-pitch.

Franklin got the start on the hill and did not disappoint, with Letter closing out the game and throwing 1.2 hitless innings in relief for the save.

Arcata had just three hits on the day one, each from Will Mager, Anthony Ebert and Ty Ghisetti.

File photo – Cody Collins hit a solo home run in Wednesday’s win.

“I thought our kids were playing not to lose the game, and (the Huskies) were playing to win the game,” Arcata head coach Troy Ghisetti said. “They came out swinging.”

Ebert got the start on the mound for Arcata and struck out 11 in five strong innings, with Cedar Cline closing out the game.

“I thought Ebert did a good job on the mound, we just never put barrel on the ball,” Troy Ghisetti said. “And Franklin did a great job keeping us off balance.”

Fortuna is now 7-4-1 overall, while the loss for the Tigers was just their third of the season and they are now 13-3.

The two Big 5 contenders will close out a key three-game series with a doubleheader at Arcata on Saturday, with game one scheduled for 11 a.m.

Categories: Arcata, baseball, Fortuna

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