LATHROP – The sun gave out before the players did Thursday, as Lathrop and visiting Ripon battled to a 2-2 tie in non-league baseball action that was called due to darkness after seven innings.
Eric Jaquez came up big twice for the Indians (1-1-1), once at the plate and once on the mound. In the second third inning with one across for Ripon with Michael Winters scoring on a Carson Henry groundout, Jaquez (4 for 4) singled in Jack Mayer for a 2-0 lead.
Jaquez came on in relief in the seventh inning and retired the first two batters he faced before walking two. Jaquez then reached deep and got a strikeout to end the threat.
“I was looking for fastballs early,” Jaquez said. “That’s what I see a lot of.
“And in the seventh on the mound I was nervous. I was just trying to throw strikes, just fast balls at the end, to try to get it over with.”
Chucky Candido started on the hill for Ripon, going 4 2/3 innings, striking out seven while allowing three hits. Unfortunately for Candido, one of those hits was a two-out, full-count two-RBI single to Johnny McCuaig in the fifth.
Nick Myers relieved Candido and got the last out of the fifth before setting the Spartans (0-1-1) down in order in the sixth behind two strikeouts.
Ripon pitching struck out 12 and limited Lathrop to three hits.
“I thought the pitching showed up today,” Indians coach Jon Manrique said. “Chucky Candido didn’t get to pitch for us last year and today he dealt. If it wasn’t for that good piece of hitting by them in the fifth I think we could have got out of that inning. Nick Myers came in and did his job, got the final out of that inning and pitched a solid sixth inning. Eric (Jaquez) was a little shaky in the seventh but he came through.
“Hitting was off today. We left a lot of guys in scoring position and had guys on in every inning. We scored those two runs and that was it. I know it’s not a loss, but we can’t be satisfied here because we had so many opportunities and we couldn’t get it done. It is frustrating.”
Although Ripon connected for eight hits, the Indians’ five free passes on four walks and a hit batsman was an improvement for the Spartans after Lathrop’s 13-8 road loss to Central Valley of Ceres on Wednesday.
“I like the fact that our pitching was a lot better than Wednesday,” Spartans coach Randy Baltazar said. “We gave 11 free bases on Wednesday and today we had our pitchers pounding the zone a lot more and that gave us a better chance of playing defense and keeping us around.
“We had timely hitting with Johnny (McCuaig) but with our pitching we were able to get ahead a little bit and play on our toes rather than our heals.”
McCuaig had struck out twice before lacing a line drive down the right-field line that scored Ian Lum-Russell and Matt Julien who drew a pair of walks to start the frame for Lathrop.
“I was due for one,” McCuaig said. “I had already struck out twice. We were behind two runs so with runners at second and third I had to do something.”