GLENDALE — All it took was a mere half inning for the Burbank High baseball team to establish itself against host Glendale in Pacific League play Friday afternoon.
The Bulldogs scored four runs and then rode a two-hitter from starting pitcher Angel Villagran en route to an 8-0 victory.
“We emphasize coming out early and sending a message to teams if we can do that,” Burbank Coach Bob Hart said. “We had an opportunity to do that early today and took advantage. That made this game a lot easier.”
The Bulldogs (7-6, 2-0 in league) broke through the .500 hurdle thanks to a four-hit first inning.
Leadoff batter Ian McKinnon, who opened with a single before stealing second and third, scored the first run on a sacrifice fly from Harrison Hernandez.
Hernandez's out marked the second of the inning and left Dylan Mersola on second.
What could have been a one-run inning blossomed for the Bulldogs, who connected on three straight hits on RBI singles from Hector Rodriguez and John White, along with a run-scoring double from Sebby Santoro in taking a 4-0 advantage.
Glendale pitcher Tyler Lousararian eventually stopped the bleeding with a strikeout of Villagran, but the tone had been set for both teams.
“This seems to happen to us too often, where we have one bad inning that just puts us in this big hole,” Glendale Coach Chris Funaro said. “If you look at the rest of the game, we only allowed four runs in six innings. It was just one bad inning that sunk us.”
The score remained the same until the Bulldogs added single scores in the fourth and fifth innings.
In the fourth, Santoro (two doubles, two runs and one RBI) led off with a double and came home on a RBI single from Villagran, while McKinnon (two runs), who was plunked in the fifth inning, scored thanks to two balks.
Burbank’s final offensive punch came in the seventh when Hernandez singled in teammates Villagran and Camden Palmisano to bring the score to 8-0.
“Today was just about having a good approach at the plate and waiting for good fastballs,” said Hernandez, who drove in three runs. “We didn’t try to do too much, just have some good swings.”
On the flip side, Villagran admitted he didn’t bring his best form to Friday’s affair.
Yet, that didn’t stop the hurler from fanning six batters and allowing only one Nitros’ baserunners to get into scoring position.
“I just tried to keep the ball low and make sure they didn’t get anything too good,” said Villagran, who hurled a perfect game March 15 against Hoover. “I thought I was a little off, but I got through it.”
Glendale (1-10, 0-3) really only challenged in the seventh inning when Thaddeaus Wilson reached base via getting hit and then advanced to second on the Nitros’ second hit of the game, a single to shortstop by Sean Harris.
Villagran immediately responded to the challenge by picking off Harris at first and then by inducing a grounder to short that moved Wilson to third at the cost of an out.
Two pitches later, Villagran preserved the shutout by coaxing a foul pop out behind the third-base bag.
Glendale’s only other hit came from Lousararian in the second inning.
“Their pitcher threw pretty well, but we didn’t do well either,” Funaro said. “The plan today is the same since the beginning of the season – to improve.”