Gold Sox set mark with 11th straight
Given Kutz led another dominating performance by the Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox pitching staff on Friday night.
Kutz, who had shoulder surgery earlier this year, showed no signs of struggle through six no-hit innings, striking out six and walking two as the Gold Sox again provided their staff with plenty of run support in a 7-0, two-hit victory over the San Diego Stars.
It was the Gold Sox's 11th straight win, setting a franchise record, and Yuba-Sutter will try to earn a sweep of the Stars tonight in the finale of the three-game Horizon Air Summer Series set.
The Gold Sox (13-1, 10-1) have been absolutely stunning in every aspect of the game during the winning streak. The team won consecutive one-run games, five pitchers combined on a no-hitter last Sunday, and Matt Suleski hit a grand slam during a rout of the Stars on Thursday.
The Gold Sox scored three runs in the third and fifth innings against the Stars, and Doug Thennis and Jeff Horn led the nine-hit attack with two hits each. Each hit a double and drove in a run.
Alex Zanini knocked in his first two runs of the season in the fifth with one of the Gold Sox's four doubles.
“In the beginning of the season, I said if we start firing on all cylinders, we're going to be tough. Everything is starting to come together,” Gold Sox manager Brad Peek said. “Our pitchers look good, we're hitting the ball and those balls that were singles early in the season are starting to become doubles.”
Kutz (2-0), a junior from the University of Portland, had his longest outing of the season, making it look nearly effortless. He retired the first four batters he faced before Scott Deen reached on an error and then retired the next five before issuing a walk to Jeff Woods in the fourth inning.
Kutz walked another batter in the fourth but then settled to retire the next six batters and leave with the no-hitter. He struck three of the final six batters he faced.
Peek said Kutz could have went at least one more inning, but he didn't want to jeopardize the right-handers arm.
“This was by far his best outing all year, and I was fully aware he had a no-hitter,” Peek said. “I didn't want to force the issue, and we had some pitchers that needed to throw. He was in true form tonight.”
Kutz said he realized he had a no-hitter going in the third inning.
“You think about it a little, but not too much,” he said. “If you give up a hit, it's just a hit and you move on.”
Kutz said he and pitching coach Jack Johnson put together a strong game plan to quiet the Stars' bats after they scored six runs and pounded out 11 hits, including two home runs, on Thursday.
“We looked at the pitching chart and saw a few key guys in the lineup that we didn't want to hurt us, so we stayed away from them,” Kutz said. “I just wanted to keep them off balance, establish my fastball and change-up early and put the slider and curveball in my pocket to use later.”
Chris Chavez earned his third save with three solid innings, allowing two hits, while striking out four and walking one.
Thennis, who is headed to Texas Tech next year and admitted to struggling at Sacramento City College this spring, continued his tear at the plate, adding another double, giving him eight on the season in his last seven games. He leads the team with a .433 average.
“It's a different mentality out here,” Thennis said about the difference between hitting at Sacramento City and with the Gold Sox. “I'm not working on my swing and I'm not trying to do too much. I'm seeing the ball well.”
Horn, who broke out of an 0-for-18 slump on Sunday, is 6-for-his-last-12, providing power at the bottom of the Gold Sox's lineup.
“I'm seeing the ball better, and I've changed my approach,” Horn said. “I'm trying to stay up the middle and go the other way.”
Horn put that newly-found opposite-field hitting skill to good use in the seventh inning, driving in a run with a hard double that bounced high off the wall in right.
Brett Nightingale pulled even with A.J. Valentine for the team lead in RBIs after knocking in a run during the three-run third against losing pitcher Randy Sobek. Sobek pitched two innings, allowing three earned runs on six hits.
B.J. Collom and Etienne Materre each added RBIs. Collom's single brought home a run in the third, and Materre ripped a run-scoring double down the line in left in the fifth.
Notes: Ryan Zaft (0-1, 0.00) will start tonight's game, and Matt Collins (2-0, 0.00) will start on Sunday against the Sacramento Scorch.
Appeal-Democrat reporter Justin Miller can be reached at 749-4796. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org