Luke Maher has made some adjustments at the plate the past three weeks, and it really shows.
The Carson infielder extended his hit streak to six games by going 3-for-3 with a career-high six RBIs to lead the Senators to an easy 15-1 win over Hug Saturday afternoon at Ron McNutt Field.
The Senators improved to 8-6 overall and 5-4 in league play. Carson travels to Hug for a 3:45 game Tuesday.
In that six-game span, Maher is hitting .526 (10-for-19). In the last two games alone, he’s boosted his average from .308 to .374. Against the Hawks, he had a pair of two-run doubles and a two-run homer. He should be called Mr. Production because he’s driven in 14 runs with his 12 hits thus far.
“Right before the Damonte series he started to make some adjustments; what pitches to look for in certain situations.” Carson coach Bryan Manoukian said. “He’s done a good job of staying with that.”
“I’m trying to hit the ball the other way,” Maher said. “When I try to pull the ball it doesn’t work out. I’m working on letting the ball travel and trust my hands.”
This one was essentially over after the first inning when Carson scored three times. For good measure, the Senators added eight in the second, three in the third and one in the fourth. The game was stopped after 4 1/2 because of the 10-run rule.
T.J. Thomsen walked and was balked to second. Gehrig Tucker drew a walk, setting up Maher. Both runners scored when Maher sliced a double to right off the end of his bat. Zak Harjes followed with a liner to left which was played into a run-scoring double by Hug’s Al-Don Kaluan.
Then it was time for Casey Wolfe to take center stage.
The senior outfielder led off the second with a solo homer to right-centerfield, his first-round-tripper since the Reno series last year. The blow gave Carson a 4-0 lead. Wolfe went 2-for-2 with three RBIs, all in the same inning. He is 4-for-5 in his last two games, which raised his average from .194 to .277.
“I’m just trying to get some confidence; keep swinging,” Wolfe said. “I thought it was a double at first. It wasn’t a high one. I thought it was a double off the fence.”
“It’s nice to see Casey come out and get the barrel on the ball and hit it hard,” Manoukian said.
Hug starter Nathan Cain retired the next two hitters, but walked Thomsen and Tucker. Maher followed with another two-run double to make it 6-0, and Harjes doubled again for a 7-0 lead. Jace Zampirro reached on an error and Charlie Banfield extended his hitting streak to three games with a run-scoring double. With runners at second and third, Wolf unloaded a triple to deep right-centerfield to make it 10-0. Danny Guthrie’s infield single completed the barrage.
Maher’s two-run homer in the third and a throwing error accounted for three runs, and Zampirro’s infield out accounted for the final run of the game.
Hitting wasn’t the only thing that stood out against Hug. The Senators got solid pitching efforts from Chase Blueberg and Dustin Dutcher.
Blueberg worked the first three innings, allowing a run and two hits while striking out six. Dutcher worked the final two innings, allowing no hits and facing just six hitters.