Nitros drop duel to Burbank, 1-0

SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — With Burroughs High's Andrew Hernandez and Glendale's Jason Marquez each cruising through a pitchers' duel, the fifth inning of Friday's Pacific League baseball game came around in the blink of an eye.

Unfortunately for the Nitros, that's where the Bulldogs scratched out the game's only run, unearned no less, and the rest of the game unfolded just as quickly with Burbank sealing a 1-0 win.

"I just had to go out there and throw strikes, get ground balls and let the defense make plays behind me," said Hernandez, who wrapped the shutout on four hits allowed with two strikeouts. "There's nothing really much I can do other than that."

Marquez never blinked in matching Hernandez pitch for pitch, also pitching a complete game on two hits allowed with seven strikeouts, but was undone by an error with two outs in the fifth inning. Glendale shortstop Sergio Solano ranged deep into the hole to field Burbank shortstop Dylan Mersola's ground ball, but Solano's throw was mishandled by the first baseman in a bang-bang play at first.

Ricky Perez, who had singled with two outs before putting himself in scoring position with a steal of second base, crossed the plate on the play to give Burbank a 1-0 lead.

"[Marquez] did his job, [he did] everything I've asked for," said Glendale Coach Jesus Osuna, whose team fell to 3-5 and 1-3 in league. "He's one of those pitchers who's made a huge adjustment [in] trying to get ahead of the batter and he did that today. Our defense has to be able to pick him up and sometimes you press a little bit when the game is on the line."

Marquez helped himself by starting a two-out Nitros rally in the top of the seventh when his slicing fly ball fell out of left fielder Angel Roman's glove as he attempted a diving catch. Pinch hitter Seth Coffman was hit by a pitch to put the tying run in scoring position. A mound visit followed and seemed to do the trick, as Hernandez needed just two pitches to induce a 6-4 forceout at second base for the final out.

"There was a little pressure [with runners on in the seventh]," Hernandez said. "I know I'm a ground-ball pitcher and if I throw the ball right down the middle, they'll hit the ball on the ground. That's all I was trying to do."

Hernandez pitched well to contact all game and even got through the third inning on just three pitches. In the fourth, he was helped out by a 5-4-3 double play following Dillion Howard's leadoff infield single and a heads-up play by Perez in center field got him out of trouble in the fifth. With Marquez [hit by pitch] on second base with two outs, Solano singled sharply to Perez, who fired a strike to third base to catch Marquez too far down the third-base line for the third out.

Burbank (5-6, 2-1) left six runners on base and counted Perez' knock and an infield single by Roman in the fourth as their only hits.

"I thought [Marquez] was outstanding," Burbank Coach Bob Hart said. "I complimented him after the game, I thought he did a great job. He kept his composure, was able to throw down-in-the-count curveballs.

I thought he did a great job. I actually thought they outplayed us."

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