Information from the Pecos League contributed to this report
Tucson Saguaros starting pitcher Justin Fusos and relievers Daulton Montagna and Travis Cole (Sahuaro graduate) shut down the San Rafael Pacifics 4-0 on Friday to force a deciding game of the best-of-three Pecos League championship series at San Rafael, Calif.
The final game will be Saturday at 6 p.m. at Albert Park.
San Rafael won the first game of the series 5-3 on Thursday night.
Fuson, a 6-foot right-hander who completed his senior college season at Fresno Pacific this spring, stymied the Pacific Division-champion Pacifics on one hit over 5 2/3 innings with five strikeouts and four walks.
He was relieved in the sixth by Montagna, a lefty out of Eastern Tennessee. He limited San Rafael to one hit and a pair of walks with four strikeouts through the eighth before giving way to Cole, a Tucson native.
Cole, who played at Memphis’ Christian Brothers. set the Pacifics down in order with two strikeouts and closed the game with a swinging strikeout of John Bicos.
The Saguaros were led at the plate by their No. 9 batter, shortstop Gavy Perez-Torres, who went 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBIs. Brock Ephan contributed a pair of hits and two RBIs.
Tucson scored all four of its runs off Pacific starter Jake Dent, who exited after four innings.
Kohto Hasegawa tossed five innings of scoreless ball out of the San Rafael bullpen but the Californians could only muster two hits from Kevin Johnson, Thursday’s hero at the plate with a double, homer and two RBIs in Game One.
Tucson hopes to carry enough momentum to win its third Pecos League championship since 2020 (and fourth overall) in the deciding game while San Rafael seeks to rebound and win its first pennant since joining the leagu in 2020.