GLENDALE — The Glendale Community College baseball team dodged the rain on Thursday.
Unfortunately, the Vaqueros couldn’t do the same with their opponents.
Glendale moved up Thursday’s game against Bakersfield several hours in order to avoid any weather-related impediments. Challenges on the diamond were another matter.
Bakersfield defeated Glendale, 8-6, in a Western State Conference showdown at Stengel Field.
The Vaqueros, who had won three straight and nine of 10 leading into Wednesday, dropped to 10-5 overall, but more importantly they fell to 5-2 in conference. Bakersfield improved to 15-2 overall and 8-1 in conference.
The two teams play again on Saturday in Bakersfield.
“We've got a great scouting report on Bakersfield for the next game,” said Glendale Coach Chris Cicuto.
The Vaqueros almost pulled out the win, loading the bases with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, but were unable to finish the comeback.
“As far as today's concerned, we put ourselves in a great opportunity to tie or win the game,” Cicuto said. “It is what it is. We'll just keep on moving forward. We've got a good book on them.”
The Renegades came out strong, scoring three runs in the first inning en route to a 6-2 advantage through five frames.
Glendale starting pitcher Angel Rodriguez allowed five runs on 10 hits in four innings of work. He struck out two and walked one.
“He competed,” Cicuto said. “He got hit around a little bit. We didn't have that out pitch today. Our goal is to get better and better each game. I thought we played OK.”
Offensively, the Vaqueros got on the board early, scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the first, including an RBI triple from Austin Walker that scored Julian Jarrard. Mark Strazzeri singled in Walker to make the score 3-2.
But the Renegades distanced themselves, holding onto a 6-2 lead through their half of the sixth.
In the middle of the sixth, Cicuto gathered his troops in the dugout to deliver a little reminder: They were still the two-time defending conference champs.
“He said play like champions, be champions,” Jarrard said.
The pep talk seemed to work, as the Vaqueros put together three hits in the bottom of the sixth to pull to within 6-4. However, the Renegades added two more runs in the top of seventh, and Glendale's pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh weren't enough.
Jarrard finished with two hits, an RBI and a run scored. Strazzeri had two hits and two RBI.
“They're good,” Jarrard said. “A couple of things go differently, we could have beat them.”
For Bakersfield, starter Darion Nunn allowed four runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings. Luc Pomales drove in three runs off three hits, including a two-run double.
With three more contests against Bakersfield, Cicuto isn't worried.
“There's no reason for us to hit the panic button,” he said.