Vaqs pounce on West L.A.

NORTHEAST GLENDALE — With storm clouds gathering on the horizon, the baseball teams of Glendale Community College and West Los Angeles were in a hurry to get Thursday afternoon's Western State Conference game at Stengel Field underway.

Already moved up a half hour on Wednesday from its originally scheduled 5:30 p.m. start time, the game was moved up twice more on Thursday, starting just after 4:15.

The Vaqueros' offense seemed to be intent on beating the rain, as well, pounding out eight runs in the first three innings, most of which was just icing on the cake with Glendale starting pitcher Alonzo Gonzalez dealing a two-hit shutout over six innings en route to getting the win in the 11-3 final.

"I knew my team was going to score, we really wanted to get a sweep," said Gonzalez, who struck out eight, while walking just two and hitting a batter. "I knew my team was going to come out and put some good hacks together.

"It really made things easier for me on the mound. I didn't really have to worry about pitching a gem or throwing to spots perfectly, I was able to just go out there and pitch my game."

Glendale, which beat the Wildcats, 14-0, on the road on Tuesday, finished with 12 hits and took four walks from West L.A.'s shaky pitching staff. Left fielder Chris Stroh was two for three with a walk, two runs batted in and three runs scored, designated hitter Adam Ochart went two for four with two RBI and a run and first baseman Nick Bozeman went three for four with a walk and two RBI.

Stroh singled to drive in right fielder Cameron Gardner, who reached on a hit by pitch and took second on a ground ball, for a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.

Stroh would score on an error on the West L.A. right fielder on a ball hit by third baseman Ruben Padilla and the Wildcats' second error of the frame, a throwing error by the third baseman, allowed Padilla to cross the plate to put the Vaqueros up, 3-0, after one.

West L.A. committed three more errors in the second inning, fueling a four-spot for the Vaqueros (20-9, 11-4 in conference).

Shortstop Matt McCallister reached on a throwing error to start the frame just before Gardner singled. Both runners moved up on an errant pickoff throw to second base and McCallister scored soon after on a wild pitch to Adam Ochart.

Ochart then smacked the next offering for a double that plated Gardner for a 5-0 lead. After Stroh drew a walk, Ochart scored on another error on a pickoff throw to second base and Padilla rounded out the scoring in the inning with a single to left to score Stroh.

"We capitalized on their errors, obviously, but I thought we hit some ground balls that were hard plays for guys to make," said Glendale Coach Chris Cicuto, who saw his team take an 8-0 lead in the third when Ochart knocked in catcher Anthony Esparza with a two-out single. "Their pitching's not as strong and we took our walks. We had chances to be disciplined and that's a good sign for us."

Gonzalez was pulled after the sixth inning in which he got some defensive help, beginning with Padilla laying out to snare a low line drive by Indalecio Rodriguez. Hugo Rodriguez was hit by a pitch, but then was gunned out trying to steal second base by Esparza. Gonzalez allowed a two-out single, but closed the door with a strikeout looking.

"He could have gone more," Cicuto said. "[I wanted] to let other guys get an opportunity."

Vaqueros reliever Greg Astor loaded the bases on a lead-off double and back-to-back walks in the seventh and paid the price when Indalecio Rodriguez lifted a base-clearing double over Stroh's head. But Glendale got the runs back in the eighth inning that featured consecutive base hits by Stroh, Chris Carlin, Trevor Trinidad and Bozeman to make it 11-3.

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