Murray leaves Bulldogs in knots

BURBANK — With each strikeout recorded by Crescenta Valley High pitcher Kyle Murray, each Burbank batter walked slowly back to the dugout frustrated.

It became a common occurrence in what turned out to be a career day for Murray.

Murray struck out 15 and hit a solo home run for good measure Tuesday to help lift visiting Crescenta Valley to a 3-1 Pacific League win against Burbank.

Murray, a senior right-hander, got stronger as the game quickly moved along on a warm afternoon. He repeatedly snapped off his curveball, striking out the side in the sixth before getting two more in the seven to complete his day to improve to 1-1.

"I was struggling in the first two innings," said Murray, who scattered three hits. "I wanted to do as much as I could to keep us in the game.

"In the third inning, I used my legs some more and I went back to the basics. I started the count with outside fastballs and then threw my curve in the same place. I'm happy with my effort. Burbank has got a good team and they pitched well, too."

Murray outdueled Burbank starting pitcher Daniel Starkand (1-3). Starkand, a left-hander, gave up a first-inning home run to Troy Mulcahey before regrouping to keep the Bulldogs (4-8, 1-1 in league) within striking distance. Starkand limited the Falcons (8-1, 3-0) to six hits in going the distance.

"He's hasn't gotten much run support," Burbank Coach Bob Hart said. "I'm impressed with the fact that he didn't pack it in after giving up the home run in the first. He had a poker face out there.

"That was a solid pitching [performance] by Murray. He had outstanding command."

Crescenta Valley, which is currently ranked ninth in CIF Southern Section Division 2, got to Starkand early. Cole Currie led off with a single to center and came around to score two batters later when Mulcahey homered over the left-field fence and onto Glenoaks Boulevard to give the Falcons a 2-0 advantage.

It was Mulcahey's fifth home run.

"Being the three-hole hitter, I just try to go out there and give my team the lead," Mulcahey said. "Kyle is one of our best if not our best pitcher and, if we can get him the lead, we know he can shut you down.

"Kyle was dominating in hitting the outside and inside corners. He put them on their toes."

The Bulldogs cut the deficit to 2-1 in the bottom of the first. With two outs and nobody on, Murray gave up a single to Paul Frias and a walk to Dylan Mersola. Ryan Favor then sliced a single down the right-field line to score Frias. Murray then got John White to ground to shortstop to end the threat.

Murray also struck out the side in the fourth inning before hitting a solo home run in the sixth to supply the Falcons with some breathing room.

Currie and Murray had two hits each for the Falcons, who also got one apiece from Mulcahey and Terry Ha.

Hart said the Bulldogs, who got one hit apiece from White, Frias and Broderick Jenkins, will look to regroup.

"We have a mostly inexperienced team with four or five sophomores," Hart said. "It comes down to aptitude and IQ. We'll just turn the page and we are a pretty resilient team. We are getting there, but it's still a process."

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