Falcons 9th Inning Rally Falls Short in Series Opening Loss to Merced College

Keith Scrivner Field – The West Hills College baseball squad (17-13) dropped Tuesday afternoon's Central Valley Conference matchup vs. Merced College by the score of 10-8. The win improves the 20th ranked Blue Devils record to 12-1 in conference play sits alone in first place overall. The Falcons are now 17-13 overall this season.

Cody Lorenzini took the ball for the Falcons to start the series. A couple base hits and well-placed balls from Merced made it a short day for Lorenzini. The freshman lasted three and two thirds innings and allowed six earned runs.
In the second inning Merced was able to plate the first runs of the ballgame. Back-to-back singles followed by a fielder's choice brought in the first Blue Devil run. A well-placed batted ball directly behind the pitchers mound turned into another fielder's choice to bring in the second run of the inning. A two out RBI single to left field capped off a three run Merced inning.
In the bottom half of the inning West Hills was able to respond. With two outs in the inning Brandon Hernandez got things going with a double down the right field line. Torin Miller followed up Hernandez with a double to the left-center gap to drive in the first Falcon run.
A bunt single followed by a triple to deep center field brought in the fourth Blue Devil run. The run from third was then scored on a West Hills wild pitch. Once again the Falcons were able to push across one run in the bottom half of the inning. It was Scotty Ingle getting things started by earning a leadoff walk. A Jake Lorenzini sacrifice bunt moved Ingle to second base for Brandon Barker. Barker singled up the middle and made the score 5-2 in favor of Merced after three innings of play.
A leadoff error from West Hills kept momentum in favor of Merced in the fourth inning. A pair of singles and a groundout to second base made the score 7-2 in favor of Merced.
Freshman Fernando Ramirez was called in to relieve Lorenzini on the mound. Ramirez worked in five and one thirds innings, allowed one earned run, and kept West Hills in the ballgame. Getting ahead in the count got Ramirez out of some big innings and earned him five strikeouts in the game.
At this point in the game it seemed as if it was almost out of reach. That was until the Falcons crossed four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. A Jake Lorenzini walk followed by a Matt Siedem base hit put runners at the corners for West Hills. Alante Uribe drove in the first run of the inning with a base knock to center field. A Merced error and a ground out to first base drove in the next two Falcon runs. Hernandez later drove in the fourth run of the inning with a single to center field. It was now a one run ballgame headed to the sixth inning.
In the seventh inning Merced was able to plate two crucial runs on a West Hills throwing error. In the ninth inning another big run was brought in by the Blue Devils with a single to right field. The score was 10-6 in favor of Merced heading into the last half of the game. A ninth inning rally from the Falcons sparked some late life in the home dugout.
A Merced error and an infield single from Uribe started of the Falcon ninth. Barker then loaded the bases with a single to center field. Blue Devil closer Derek Molina entered on the mound was set to face off against Jeff Torres. Torres was able to earn an RBI by getting hit by the first pitch he saw. Hernandez followed it up with a sacrifice fly to left field to make it a two run affair. Merced was able to hold off the late surge from West Hills by striking out the final two batters.

Next up: The Falcons will travel to Merced this upcoming Thursday, April 6, for game two of the series. First pitch is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. PST.

Series Recap:

Game 1: West Hills 8 – Merced 10 - Keith Scrivner Field

Game 2: Thursday, April 6, @ Merced – 2:00 p.m. start

Game 3: Saturday, April 8, Keith Scrivner Field – 1:00 p.m. start 


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