Corona del Mar pitcher Evan Larsen let it be known early Friday afternoon that it was going to be his day.
The senior struck out seven of the first nine batters and ended up throwing a two-hitter to lead the Sea Kings to a 4-0 victory over Woodbridge in a Pacific Coast League opener at Ryan Lemmon Stadium.
The Cal State Fullerton-bound Larsen (3-0) threw his first shutout and third complete game of the season while striking out nine. He did not walk a batter.
“Evan pitched a phenomenal game,” said CdM coach John Emme. “We got some clutch hits and some runs on the board. He is awfully tough to beat. He’s obviously one of the best pitchers in Orange County.
“This was his best game of the year. He had his best stuff and his best fastball. He will usually throw 80 percent strikes and he probably did it again today.”
Larsen did not allow a base-runner through 31/3 innings. Zak Baayoun had the first hit of the game for Woodbridge (5-3, 0-1) with one out in the fourth inning, but he was thrown out trying to steal second base.
“We knew this year this league was going to be intense,” Larsen said. “We definitely had some intensity going into this game and we broke out with three runs in the sixth inning and I felt that was enough; that my stuff was going to able help us get the win today.”
Woodbridge’s Jake Larson (2-2) pitched four shutout innings before the Sea Kings (6-0, 1-0) scored a run in the fifth inning. J.T. Schwartz singled to drive in Preston Hartsell, who had singled.
Corona del Mar, which had six hits , added three runs in the sixth inning.
Brenden Heuston had an RBI double, Chazz Martinez drove in a run when he reached on a fielder’s choice and Hartsell drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.
Woodbridge’s Larson gave way to Shoma Yoshida, who came on in the sixth inning.
“It was a good pitcher’s duel,” said Woodbridge coach Tim Murray. “Larson ran out of gas a little bit. I think his pitch count probably was a little higher (than Larsen’s).
“He’s the best we got and the guy on their side of the mound was pitching one of the best high school games in a long time. When you have that guy on the mound, doing what he was doing, it’s going to be tough for any team. We battled and we competed but we ended up on the short side but we will be ready for him next time.”