GLENDALE, Ariz – The Glendale Community College Gauchos split a doubleheader with the Colorado Northwestern Community College Spartans Feb. 5, falling in game one 3-1, before winning 9-2 in the second game, their first win of the season.
The doubleheader was the first home games of the spring for the Gauchos, after losing three games at Yavapai College to begin non-conference play Jan. 31 and Feb. 1.
Scoring only two runs in three games at Yavapai, the Gauchos continued to struggle offensively in game one against the Spartans, putting up only four hits on one run; a home run by second baseman Will Long in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Sophomore Ryland Wilcox-Lewis started game one, giving up three runs; two earned, on six hits and walking three in five innings pitched. Wilcox-Lewis got into trouble in the first by issuing a walk to Spartans third baseman Hunter Cornia and single to catcher Alonzo Zuniga. After a wild pitch and two-run single from pitcher Manny Casillas, the Spartans got an early 2-0 lead.
“Ryland, it’s unfortunate, he’s pitched well twice now, and he hasn’t gotten any support offensively,” Gauchos Head Coach Ed Trujillo said. “He gave up two early runs and settled down and threw very well after that.”
The Gauchos offense exploded for nine runs in game two. After two ground outs to begin the first frame, left fielder Damien McElroy got on base via a hit-by-pitch. McElroy would score on an error by Cornia to kick off a four-run first inning for the Gauchos.
“We scored four runs in the first inning on three or four stolen bases that kind of opened things up,” Trujillo said. “The two-out hit-by-pitch and then we get a bad pickoff that scores a run and the rally started and we just were really aggressive in the first inning.”
Designated hitter Hayden Baker and second baseman Carlos Parra stole bases in the first and third innings. First baseman Alec Yamauchi also had a steal in the first and third baseman Jake Kelley added a steal as well as a home run later in the game.
Freshman Caleb Thomason started game two and pitched five innings, giving up two earned runs on six hits with five strikeouts and no walks in the victory.
“He threw his fastball very well and he threw his breaking pitch in offensive counts and he pitched well from behind and attacked hitters and the bottom line is he didn’t walk anyone, and when you don’t walk hitters we’re going to have a chance to play good defense,” Trujillo said.
Coach Trujillo said he was glad for the team to get the win.
“It (the win) feels good for our guys, the first game I thought we had an opportunity, but we just didn’t get a clutch ground ball, or a clutch hit to get the tying run in, but our guys battled pretty hard,” Trujillo said.
The Gauchos next game is at home against the Grand Canyon University club team. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.