BURBANK — An opportunity to move into a tie for fourth place awaited the Burroughs and Glendale high baseball teams before Tuesday's Pacific League game.
While the visiting Nitros struck first, they did not take advantage of several opportunities, which allowed the Indians to rally for four runs over the last two innings in a come-from-behind 4-1 victory at Tomahawk Field.
With the win, Burroughs improved to 9-9 overall and 3-4 in league heading into Friday's cross-town showdown with Burbank (5-11, 2-5), while Glendale (5-12-1, 2-5) will also hope to recover versus archrival Hoover (10-7, 3-4) on Friday.
"Our approach at the plate just wasn't very good early on, especially with Glendale's pitcher throwing strikes," Burroughs first-year skipper Craig Sherwood said. "We weren't waiting on pitches, we were out in front.
"Maybe our biggest break is when Glendale brought in a little harder thrower because we got on top of some pitches."
Glendale held a 1-0 lead through five and a half innings thanks to a productive effort from starting pitcher Ethan Howard, who had scattered two hits while allowing no runs before the bottom of the fifth.
Yet, Howard surrendered a lead-off double to Burroughs' Tyler Renta to begin the fifth and was pulled in favor of reliever Javier Aguayo.
The move initially appeared to stem an Indians' surge, as Aguayo recorded two infield outs that only advanced Renta to third.
Burroughs' next hitter, Anthony Bocanegra, then dropped a successful bunt down the third-base line that not only secured the Indians' lead-off hitter a single, but allowed Renta to score when a throw to first base sailed into foul territory along the right-field foul line.
Bocanegra advanced to second on the gaffe and then scored on a two-out double from Cameron Rodriguez that put the Indians ahead for good, 2-1.
"Our approach was to stay away from off-speed and just look fastball and it worked," said Renta, who finished two for three with a double, two runs scored and one RBI.
Renta followed through an inning later with a run-scoring double that plated pinch-runner Tyler Lewis and put Burroughs up, 3-1, in the sixth. Renta later scored in the inning on a single from Anthony Robles (two for three with a run batted in) as Burroughs finished five for 10 with runners in scoring position with three RBI.
"I don't think you can blame the pitching in this game," Glendale Coach Alan Eberhart said. "We pitched well. We just didn't come up with any offense again. You can't expect to win without scoring. That's been the story of our season."
At times, it appeared Glendale was just an extra-base hit away from blowing the game wide open.
The Nitros loaded the bases with no outs in the first on singles from Connor Rodriguez and Thaddeus Wilson (two for four with a run and stolen base) and a walk to Tyler Lousarian.
Burroughs starting pitcher Ben Hobson, however, wiggled out of trouble by utilizing his curveball in striking out the next three Nitros to escape the jam.
Glendale placed a runner on second in the second with one out and again Hobson responded by striking his way out of the inning.
Lousarian delivered Glendale's lone contact in a clutch situation when he singled in Wilson in the third inning to give the visitor's a 1-0 lead.
Otherwise, Glendale was one for seven with runners in scoring position with six punch outs versus the wildly effective Hobson through three innings.
Hobson was pulled in favor for Danny Bustos in the top of the fourth and the reliever shut the door, scattering two hits over four innings, while setting down the last seven hitters in order.
"All I was trying to do was help my team out and control what I could control," Bustos said. "We needed this win and now we'll get ready for Friday."
Follow Andrew J. Campa on Twitter: @campadresports.