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Strong pitching in Game 2 lands CAC split with Arizona Western

Catcher Seth Beckstead rounds third after game one solo HR-Photo Oscar Perez/Pinal Central
Catcher Seth Beckstead rounds third after game one solo HR-Photo Oscar Perez/Pinal Central

Ed Petruska-Contributing Writer/Pinal Central

SIGNAL PEAK — Some top-notch pitching in Game 2 allowed the Central Arizona College baseball team to salvage of a split of Saturday's home doubleheader against Arizona Western.

The No. 12 Vaqueros edged the Matadors 3-2 after falling 5-2 in the opener. Central is 15-5 overall and 8-2 in Arizona Community College Athletic Conference play.

"The big picture is, we're still in a good spot," CAC coach Anthony Gilich said. "We just need to operate at a higher level (offensively). We're putting too much pressure on our pitchers to be perfect."

Sophomore left-hander Ky Bush went five innings in the second game to raise his record to 5-0. Bush gave up one run and two hits while striking out five and walking three.

Cody Brooks limited Western (12-8, 3-5 ACCAC) to one run (unearned) and one hit in three innings after replacing Bush, and Tyler Woessner pitched the ninth to register his second save. Brooks also had five strikeouts.

"I was really happy with the way Brooks bridged it to Woessner," Gilich said.

The Vaqueros took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Kiko Romero singled to drive in Tyler Kelly. They picked up two runs in the fourth as Brandham Ponce scored on a wild pitch and Eric Mast came home on Seth Beckstead's squeeze bunt.

Kelly had two of Central's five hits.

The Matadors scored single runs in the fifth and seventh. They finished with four hits.

Western overcame a 1-0 deficit in the opener with a five-run sixth inning that began with six consecutive batters getting aboard. Mat Olsen, who had stranded four runners in scoring position while holding the Matadors scoreless through five, hit the leadoff batter, then gave up two singles and two walks before being replaced by Shane Spencer, who walked the first batter he faced.

An RBI single by Juan Carlos Navarro made it 1-1. The next AWC two runs scored on bases-loaded walks to Jose Paula and Cade Kalehuawehe. Following a forceout at the plate on a grounder to second baseman Matt Aribal, Daniel Gonzalez capped the rally with a two-run single.

Olsen (3-2) struck out four straight during one stretch and six total but clearly did not have his best stuff. The former Florence High School standout allowed four runs, five hits and three walks while hitting one in five-plus innings. Coming in, the freshman right-hander had a 0.68 ERA and 51 strikeouts in 26 1 /3 innings pitched.

"We need to score more for Olsen," Gilich said. "He's been great."

Beckstead staked Central to a 1-0 lead with his first extra-base hit of the season – a two-out home run to left in the second off Western starter Devin Contreras. The Vaqueros left a runner at second base in both the second and third innings and one at third base in the fourth.

Contreras departed with nobody out in the sixth after allowing a single to Preston Godfrey and Mast's double. Reliever Darrell Woodall gave up a sacrifice fly to Ponce before the inning ended with a groundout and a popout — and a CAC runner stranded at third.

Pinch-hitter Ryan Grabosch delivered a leadoff double in the bottom of the seventh and Aribal singled following a diving catch by left fielder Juan Salazar on Kelly's sinking liner. Elvis Parra came on to get a strikeout and a game-ending foul popup to third.

Aribal had three of CAC's nine hits and Beckstead had two. The Matadors finished with six hits, two by Salazar.

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