The Chico Heat scored early and they scored often as they trounced the Portland Pickles 12-3 in game one of a big three game set at Nettleton Stadium.
Chico scored single runs in each of the first three innings but busted the game wide open with a seven-run 5th to take Sunday night’s game going away. The Heat banged out 12 hits in the game with seven of them going for extra-bases.
For the third straight game Chico got fantastic starting pitching as Spokane Falls Ryan Byrd pitched seven strong scattering six hits and allowing only two runs. Chico’s bats have been instrumental in their recent surge, it was a big night for Chico State product Josh Falco as he went 3-for-4 with three RBI’s and three runs scored including a three-run triple in the decisive 5th.
Chico now sits at (16-16) 1/2 game back of Portland for third place in the GWL and will play 12 of their next 14 games at home as they look to make a strong push toward the finish line in their 2016 season.
The Heat’s fortunes have been buoyed by the consistency shown from their starting rotation. Chico State’s Stuart Bradley and the left-hander Byrd have consistently given the Heat strong outings. Bradley is now 4-2 with a 2.65 ERA. Byrd is now 4-0 with a glittering 1.86 ERA. Now, the Heat are leaning on their two Pac-12 arms, Adam Davenport from the University of Washington and Luke Soroko from Arizona. In five starts Davenport is 3-1 with a 2.42 ERA. The red-shirt freshman has 30 strikeouts in 29.2 innings. Soroko, who got his first start of the year after traveling with the Wildcats to Omaha and the College World Series, shined in his season opening start Friday in Marysville. Soroko went six innings giving up five hits one run and striking out five in a no-decision. Soroko has an ERA of 1.03.
This fantastic four will make the Heat a tough team to beat with 25 games left in the Heat’s inaugural campaign.