GLENDALE — The Glendale Community College baseball team faced a three-run deficit in the fourth inning Saturday in a nonconference game against Cerritos College.
The Vaqueros tried to get things rolling at the plate in an attempt to best the Falcons, who had early scoring threats before taking the lead.
Then, in a flash, the Vaqueros’ deficit turned into a four-run lead at the end of the fifth inning.
Behind five runs in the fifth, Glendale rallied for a 9-5 nonconference victory over Cerritos at Stengel Field.
“I thought we took tough at-bats,” Glendale coach Alex Kocol said. “They pitched really tough and we had to give them a little bit more at the plate. Then we went the other way and we got a big inning started with a blooper from [Aaron Suval].
“Guys just tried to get extended the second and third time through [the lineup], and we did that. We had a chance to get their guy deeper in the pitch count and got a big inning out of it.
In the top of the fourth inning with two runners on base, Falcons first baseman Nicholas Martinez drove in third baseman Richard Castro to stake Cerritos to 1-0 lead.
A run-scoring double from left fielder Shea Estrin doubled the Falcons’ advantage before a two-out single from center fielder Buck Anderson made it a 3-0 advantage.
The Vaqueros (6-2) finally got in a rhythm in the bottom of the fourth, backed by a two-run home run from St. Francis graduate Aaron Trelaor to make it a one-run game, 3-2.
The Falcons (6-1) threatened again in the top of the fifth inning, but Vaqueros starting pitcher Shohei Umeki struck out consecutive batters to get out of the jam.
“His best pitch, in my eyes, was his splitter and I was just trying to get my guys to see that pitch up,” said Cerritos coach Vic Buttler of Umeki. “We had 10 strikeouts today. You can’t win a baseball game striking out 10 times and put three errors on the board.
“He went out there and pitched very well. He located his pitches. He got in a jam early and he worked his way out of it by that dirty splitter. He did his job. Baseball is about a game of inches and a game of adjustments. They made more adjustments than we did today.”
After a ground-out from Vaqueros sophomore Trent MacKinney to start the bottom of the fifth, a double from freshman Aaron Suval set up sophomore Hans Seo with an RBI-double to tie the score at 3.
With runners at the corners following a walk from Glendale sophomore Casey Slattery, sophomore outfielder Alex Mills knocked a two-run double to center to give Glendale a 5-3 lead.
Trelaor followed with another run-scoring double and scored another run on a sacrifice fly from freshman Zach Lafata for a 7-3 lead through five innings.
“This is a team that never quits, and when we score runs, we score a lot of them and in bunches,” Trelaor said. “Second time through the order and towards the third time, we really started to get to [Cerritos pitcher Andrew Arguello]. We started to have a better approach at the plate and really started hitting the balls the other way. When we start doing that, I think we’re one of the best hitting teams in the state.”
Glendale High grad Sean Harris plated Mills on a one-out double for in the bottom of the seventh. The Vaqueros chipped in their final run from Lafata on a throwing error to first to make it 9-3.
After retiring six batters in two innings, Glendale relief pitcher Chris Torres gave up three straight singles to load up the bases with no outs at the top of the eighth. The Falcons drove in a run on their fourth consecutive single from freshman Nolan Brown to cut the Vaqueros’ lead to five, before a sacrifice fly from sophomore Owen Beebe made it a four-run margin, 9-4.
Umeki went five innings with six strikeouts, two walks, seven hits and three runs. The sophomore induced a 5-4-3 double play to end the first inning and kept the Falcons scoreless in the second after stranding runners on second and third.
Torres tossed three innings with four strikeouts, four hits and four runs after retiring the first six batters he faced. Glendale closer Brent Chavez pitched the ninth inning, strriking out one.
Trelaor collected three hits with a home run and a double, drove in three runs and scored twice. Mills finished with two doubles, two RBI and two runs scored. Slattery also scored twice for the Vaqueros.
Cerritos designated hitter David Hays finished with three hits and one run scored for the Falcons.