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Glendale college baseball drops first game of regional to Santa Barbara

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Glendale Community College’s Christian Muro makes contact during Friday’s playoff game against Santa Barbara at Stengel Field.
(Raul Roa \ Staff Photographer)

GLENDALE — The opportunities were there for the Glendale Community College baseball team against Santa Barbara City College in game one of the California Community College Athletic Assn. Southern California Regional.

Fourth-seeded Glendale scattered eight hits in the first eight innings, but scored just one run and left 10 runners on base.

Meanwhile, No. 13-seed Santa Barbara capitalized with a three-run first inning and a five-run fifth that put Glendale in a hole that it couldn’t recover from in a battle of Vaqueros squads.

Glendale tacked on three runs in the final inning, but ultimately dropped the first game in the best-of-three series, 10-4, on Friday at Stengel Field.

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Glendale (26-15), which won the Western State Conference East Division championship, will return to Stengel Field for game two of the series at noon Saturday against Western State Conference Co-Champions Santa Barbara (24-13) at Stengel. A win by Glendale wold force a winner-take-all third game immediately following game two.

“It’s a short adjustment,” Glendale coach Alex Kocol said. “We have short memories, so I think we’ll be ready to play [Saturday]. We’re excited about who we have on the mound and we’re a good team. We expect those guys to show up and be competitive. I think we’ll be more competitive tomorrow.”

Glendale, which won last season’s regional series, 2-1, over Pasadena City College, saw Santa Barbara draw three straight walks to start the game. The visitors came through with a run-scoring single to score the opening run, and scored another on a throwing error to take a 2-0 lead. Santa Barbara added a two-out RBI-single to cap the three-run inning.

Glendale responded in the bottom of the first when St. Francis graduate Brandon Lewis grounded into a double play that scored lead-off batter Trent McKinney to cut Santa Barbara lead to 3-1.

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After the visitors added a fourth run in the third on a bases-loaded walk, Santa Barbara followed up the frame with an RBI-single and a safety squeeze in the fourth inning to establish a 6-1 lead.

With two outs in the fourth, Santa Barbara first baseman Jacob Bravo belted a three-run home run to extend the lead to 9-1.

Santa Barbara made it 10-1 when center fielder Patrick Caulfield came home in the top of the sixth for his fourth run.

“I don’t think we delivered on the mound how we wanted to,” Kocol said. “I think the game didn’t go our way there. I thought they were as advertised on the mound. I’m happy about how we competed, obviously. [We had] a lot of free base runners, so I think that’s something to correct moving forward.”

Glendale finally got its bats going at the bottom of the ninth after seven scoreless innings. Glendale recorded back-to-back one-out singles at the top of the lineup before Lewis lined one to left field to score McKinney and cut the Santa Barbara lead to 10-2.

With two outs and runners on first and second, Glendale pinch hitter Hayden Luff hit a two-RBI single to close out the scoring.

“We’ve got some pretty good arms and some pretty good pitching that has really kind of come on as of late,” Santa Barbara coach Jeff Walker said. “We played good defense behind him, too. They out-hit us.

“We made some pitches and some plays when they had runners on base, so that was key. We made the most of our opportunities, offensively, getting the big, five-run inning with the Bravo home run. They’re really good.”

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Lewis and Luff drove in two runs for the hosts, while McKinney recorded three hits and two runs, Tom Tabak had three hits and pinch hitter Sammy Martinez registered a single.

Santa Barbara recorded eight stolen bases, with five coming from Caulfield. The center fielder finished with four runs, three hits and two RBIs.

Santa Barbara pitcher Jack Aldrich threw seven innings of relief . He struck out 10, walked one and surrendered three runs on eight hits.

Glendale starting pitcher Gerardo Ramirez pitched three innings, struck out three, walked four and gave up four runs on three hits. Crescenta Valley graduate Luke Hempel threw four innings of relief with three strikeouts, two walks, five hits and six runs. Glendale closer Andrew Baxter walked two in the final two innings.

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