Despite a strong pitching performance from Marco Gonzales, East Union suffered a 4-2 loss to Central Catholic Wednesday at Agostini Field.
The junior right hander scattered four hits while yielding two runs – only one was earned – struck out five and walked one in six innings of work.
“Marco threw the ball really well today and gave his defense opportunities,” said Lancers coach Dan Triglia.
The Raiders (5-4 in Valley Oak League play, 12-9 overall) scored the game winner in the seventh. With the game tied at 2-2, they tacked on a pair of runs following a lead-off single to Eagan Fierro, a run-scoring double by Ryan Vierra, and John Weatherred’s RBI single.
Back in the fifth, Weatherred tied the game on a solo home run over the left field fence.
“At the start, I came out confident (facing Central Catholic) knowing that these guys can swing the bats,” said Gonzales.
However, his infield defense committed a pair of throwing errors in the second, including one that went for a two-base miscue to score Ryan Dami, who had a one-out single up the middle.
East Union (3-6 in VOL, 4-15 overall) came back by putting two aboard – Jake Graves and Gonzales, who had a walk and single, respectively – with no outs.
But a bunt attempt misfired. Raiders’ hurler Sam Mundt initiated the triple play, fielding the ball before it hit the ground for the first out and delivering a strike to shortstop Travis Waara, who got the force out covering second. Waara’s relay to first was on the time for the force at first.
The Lancers tied the game at 1-1 in the third inning.
Joe Souza drew a one-out walk, advanced when Eric Flores’ sacrifice bunt was misplayed for an error, and came home on Lucas Garcia’s RBI single.
East Union went ahead 2-1. Gonzales reached base on an error and advanced on the errant throw. Adrian Aflleje followed that up with a RBI single.
Weatherred’s blast tied the game at 2-2.
“It was a good pitch,” Gonzales said. “I hit my (inside) spot but he was ready.”
For the most part, he had Central Catholic hit fly outs – nine outfield putouts to be exact. Flores, who drew the start in left, made two nifty grabs, including one on a long run to foul territory in the second inning, and a sliding on-one-knee catch in the third.
Mundt, meanwhile, was the winning pitcher. He surrendered six hits, striking out five and walking two.
The two teams will play the rubber match in Modesto on Friday.
“We’ll have to be ready by then to play for the split,” Gonzales said.