WALLA WALLA — When you pluck the No. 4 starter off of UCLA’s College World Series-winning team to play summer ball, you expect you will have your team a good — if not great — pitcher.
Six-foot-one Cody Poteet, a freshman at UCLA, was the man here Friday night on the mound for the Walla Walla Sweets, striking out 11 in seven innings of work and picking up a win in his first outing as a Sweet.
Poteet gave up three hits, two walks, zero runs and threw exactly 100 pitches in the Sweets’ 5-0 series-opening victory over the Klamath Falls Gems Friday night.
“Cody (Poteet) was lights out, huh?” Sweets manager J.C. Biagi said. “He was as good as advertised. We’ve heard a lot about him and hadn’t seen him in action.”
Poteet was asked if it was a letdown coming to Walla Walla after his trip to Omaha, Nebraska and the College World Series.
“No,” he said. “It is a great atmosphere here too. The College World Series is something you can never match but it is awesome here too. The fans are great, my host family is nice and I’m having a good time.”
Poteet throws in the low 90s and features a good hard slider and curveball.
Pitching the final two innings for the Sweets was Josh Wagner, who struck out five and allowed just one hit in preserving the combined four-hit shutout.
The Sweets rallied in the middle innings of the game to put up four runs in the fifth and one in the sixth inning.
The fifth-inning rally started on a Spencer O’Neil double down the first-base line. Jono Herkins sacrifice bunted him to third.
Kramer Lindell lined an RBI-double off the glove of the Klamath Fall’s third basemen, Peter Maris. Next Jarod Gonzales popped out to center field for the second out.
John Skrbec singled to center field to score Lindell from second base.
Mike Paulson walked and Dominic Miroglio reached on a fielding error to the Gem’s shortstop, Paul Panaccione.
With the bases loaded, the lefty-swinging Kris Paulino smacked a 2-RBI single to right-field. The hit knocked Gems starter Tyler Johnson from the game and Walla Walla ended the frame with a 4-0 lead after Matt Mendenhall struck out to end the threat.
Anthony Olmo pitched the final 3 1/3 inning for the Gems, holding the Sweets to a single run in the sixth.
Luke Persico was hit by a pitch and moved to second base on a Lindell walk. Gonzales singled to load the bases with one out.
Skrbec then hit an RBI groundout to make the final score 5-0.
The Sweets scored enough runs to win and support their pitcher. But the story of the night, was the Sweets debut of Poteet.
“It was nice to get him out on the mound,” Biagi said. “Once he settled in after that first inning, he took charge and located his breaking pitches. He was throwing fast enough and he has that hard slider, hard curveball. He has a good arsenal that he is working with. He is very effective.”
The Sweets (15-10) sit a tie for first-place going into further action Saturday night and this evening.
Walla Walla 5, Klamath Falls 0
Klamath Falls 000 000 000 — 0 4 1
Walla Walla 000 041 000 — 5 7 0
Johnson, Olmo (5) and Meredith. Poteet, Wagner (8) and Miroglio.
Hits — KF: Maris, Dahl, Panaccione, Thompson. WW: Lindell, Gonzales 2, Skrbec, Paulin 2, O’Neil.