Shinn fires seven scoreless frames as SF State sweeps CSU Pueblo
The Gator baseball team improves to 7-1 after Sunday’s 6-3 victory
February 20, 2023
Following the lead of a solid performance on the mound from starter Nathan Shinn, SF State finished off a four-game sweep, defeating Colorado State University-Pueblo 6-3 on Sunday afternoon at Maloney Field.
The SF State Gators improve to 7-1 on the season and have now won six straight games, including the last four at home.
It was smooth sailing for Shinn, as the sophomore left-hander cruised through seven scoreless innings while giving up just two hits and striking out a career-high eight hitters. The ThunderWolves stayed hitless through the first three frames, with Shinn constantly jumping ahead of hitters to produce weak contact. Not once did the southpaw walk a hitter.
“I was just throwing a lot of strikes early in the count and then putting them away with offspeed late,” Shinn said after the game. “They swing a lot early in the count so I thought ‘OK, their bats are moving, let’s attack today’ and it worked out.”
Shinn, a product from Foothill High School in Pleasanton, allowed his first hit in the fourth inning to Pueblo’s Reggie Williams and found himself on the defensive after a balk call and a sacrifice bunt advanced Williams to third. With just one out, Shinn induced a popout to first and an inning-ending strikeout to avoid further damage.
It’s now been back-to-back strong outings for Shinn, who completed five innings without allowing an earned run in his first start against Colorado Springs on Feb. 12. Last season as a freshman, he posted a 4.45 earned run average in 15 games.
“Definitely strength was an emphasis [this offseason] and it’s knowing that I’m in control,” Shinn said. “The experience from last year helped a lot in the last two starts and it will help moving forward.”
Now a certified member of the rotation, Shinn –– the current owner of a 12 consecutive inning scoreless streak –– views himself as a bonafide Sunday starter.
“He had three pitches for strikes and so when you do that, hitters can’t sit on one pitch,” SF State Head Coach Tony Schifano said. “Last year he was a fastball-slider guy, and so they would just kind of spit on the slider and wait for the fastball. He’s throwing that changeup first pitch first for a strike, so guys are always looking fastball early and it just keeps guys off balance.”
Righty Max Castellucci came on to close it out in the ninth but allowed a three-run blast off the bat of Pueblo’s catcher Brady Prewitt –– a ball that was a wall scraper, bouncing off the very top of the fence before going over –– to make it 6-3. Gabriel Lopez notched the final three outs of the game to record his first save of the season.
The Gators’ offense stayed red-hot, cranking out 12 total hits and putting six runs on the board. They’re now collectively averaging 8.25 runs per game. They scored first on Sunday, as right fielder Daniel Santos led off the home half of the fourth with a double. Later Santos came across to score on an RBI single from catcher Derek Laferierre, a swing that knocked out ThunderWolves starter Cole Martin after just three-two-thirds innings of work.
“The lineup gets it done,” Shinn said. “I’m very confident in their abilities and I’m grateful for it.”
In a 2-0 game in the sixth, first baseman Kody Gardner –– reigning Gator of the Week from Feb. 6-12 –– smoked an opposite-field double to begin the inning. Gardner came around to score when third baseman AJ Schrader turned on a pitch and clung it to right for an RBI single and finished the afternoon 2-for-4 with two RBI singles.
Left fielder Nick Upstill brewed up another multi-hit game, notching three hits, including an RBI triple in the seventh and a bloop single that scored the sixth run in the eighth. Upstill has started the year off on a roll, hitting an 11-for-23 (.478) clip, ranking him fifth among all hitters in batting average in the California Collegiate League.
The Gators (7-1) welcome Cal State East Bay (6-4) for a four-game series starting on Friday at Maloney Field. The first pitch for Friday’s contest is 2 p.m.