BURBANK — Hits were at a premium and pitching took center stage Friday when the Burroughs High baseball team squared off against Burbank in the first cross-town rivalry game of the season.
While the Indians received a masterful performance from submarine starter Cole Meyer, the Bulldogs got a solid performance from their pitcher, Randy Higgens. Between the two, they surrendered just two hits apiece.
Burroughs was able to take advantage of a Burbank error in the first inning to score the contest's lone run, as the Indians walked off their homefield with a 1-0 Pacific League victory.
Meyer was able to get the best of his counterpart on the hill, going the distance to record a two-hitter. The senior transfer from Las Vegas surrendered back-to-back singles in the first inning and allowed just one baserunner the rest of the game.
Meyer, who had eight strikeouts and walked just one, seemed to get stronger as the contest wore on. After the first inning, the only Burbank baserunner to reach base was Conner Lockheimer, who drew a walk in the third inning. The Burroughs right-hander retired 19 of the final 20 Bulldogs batters he faced.
"Being the rivalry, deep down inside I was trying to contain my excitement, but I was really hyped and I couldn't wait for this one," Meyer said. "I just tried to take a deep breath and tried and take it like a regular game. I just tried to have tunnel vision with my catcher.
"After that first inning, I started to really get on top of my fastball and I got the strike zone figured out. I just had to get the feel of the game. My slider was really working today; when I was 0-2 I think I threw it every time."
While Meyer was doing his thing for the Indians (10-9, 4-4 in league), Higgens, a junior, was also turning in a fine effort for Burbank (5-12, 3-5). Higgens went five innings, allowing two hits, while striking out three and walking one.
"Higgens is a quality baseball player and I hate to see him get the loss after pitching as well as he did," said Burroughs Coach Craig Sherwood, who served as an assistant at Burbank under coach Bob Hart before taking over the Indians program this season. "He did a great job and he should be proud of the way he pitched."
Meyer's only hiccup came in the first inning. With two out, he gave up consecutive singles to Cameron Briggs and Higgens. However, he was able to get out of the jam by inducing a groundout to first base.
In its half of the first, Burroughs would tally the only run it would need. Anthony Bocanegra started things off when the leadoff batter was hit by a pitch. Cameron Rodriguez followed with a double to center field and Bocanegra was held at third. On the next at-bat, Noah Hoad hit a sharp shot to shortstop that was bobbled, allowing the runner to cross the plate.
The Indians could have had more runs in the opening frame, though. With no outs, Rodriguez was thrown out trying to score on a fielder's choice to second base. The Bulldogs were then able to get out of the inning on a double play, as third baseman Fischer Cabot dove and snared a liner and tagged third to double off the runner.
"Their guy was solid on the mound and Randy came through and pitched his best performance of the year," Hart said. "It was clean baseball, it was a one-run game and our guys were in it the entire time.
"It was just they got that one run on an error and that's just baseball. It's not like basketball where you can recover late in the fourth quarter."
Other than the first inning, the Bulldogs put just one runner in scoring position the rest of the game. With one out in the third, Lockheimer drew a walk. He was then sacrificed to second by Camden Palmisano. However, Meyer got out of the inning with a ground out to second base.
Meyer then breezed through the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings by retiring the Indians in order.
"His ball has a little more movement naturally because of his submarine motion," Sherwood said. "I'm really happy for him because he pitched a great game and he could showcase his stuff. I just thank the baseball gods that Cole Meyer was sent to me and he ended up coming here."
Burroughs was able to put just one runner in scoring position after the first, that coming in the second inning. Tyler Renta reached base on an error and went to second on a passed ball with one out. But Higgens notched a strikeout and a groundout to get out of the inning.
Anthony Robles had a single for Burroughs in the fifth inning.
Follow Jeff Tully on Twitter: @jefftsports