Despite loss, GCC off to solid start

GLENDALE — With a solid start to the season underway, the Glendale Community College baseball team’s 5-4 loss at Pierce College on Saturday felt more like a speed bump than a setback.

Although the Vaqueros squandered a four-run lead for their first Western State Conference loss, the fact that the team sits at 8-4 overall and was coming off a win over the very same Brahmas at Stengel Field in the conference opener on Thursday had Coach Chris Cicuto in no mood to dwell on the loss.

“We’ve beaten every team we’ve played this year,” said the sixth-year skipper, whose team has split three doubleheaders this season. “We’ve been executing very well and our starting pitchers have been outstanding.”

The top of the Vaqueros’ order was productive on Saturday, staking starter Gustavo Garcia to a two-run lead after one inning.

Leadoff man Chris Arredondo doubled, Michael Mendoza singled on a bunt and first baseman Laz Fonta knocked in Arredondo.

Glendale college added two more runs in the second inning, but Pierce evened the score with one run in the third inning and a three-spot in the fourth.

The Brahmas took the lead in the fifth on a single, a wild pitch and a double.

The final three frames presented several chances for the Vaqueros to strike back.

In the top of the seventh, a one-out situation with runners at first and second was scuttled when Fonta was picked off at first. The batter at the plate walked.

A misjudgment by a base runner on a deep fly ball to center field in the eighth inning resulted in a double play to put the damper on another scoring opportunity for the Vaqueros.

“Without those mistakes, we would have been in a better situation to come back,” Cicuto said. “Mental mistakes hurt us, but we played great defense and pitched very well.”

The best chance for Glendale college to rally came in the ninth, when Brian Ward was hit by a pitch to load the bases with two outs.

“We had a chance to win,” Cicuto said. “We had guys in the right situation, but we just ran out of outs.

“Pierce squeaked one out against us, to be honest.”

In the 6-2 win over Pierce on Thursday, Chris Turner, a 2007 Hoover High graduate pitched eight innings for the win, his second of the season, and Juan Sanchez earned the save.

Glendale college entered the bottom of the fifth inning trailing, 2-0, but rallied to take the lead on a two-run home run by Mendoza.

Cicuto said another key to the Vaqueros’ good start has been offensive contributions up and down the lineup.

“I always knew the top half of the order was gonna be good,” Cicuto said, “but the bottom half is getting on base and producing.”

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