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Menasco, defense lift Buffaloes to nonleague win
BASE--Los Banos-Manteca pic 4
Mantecas Jake Menasco races out of the batters box on a bunt attempt. - photo by DAVE CAMPBELL/ The Bulletin

Jake Menasco pitched five shutout innings for Manteca and led the Buffaloes to a 4-1 non-league win over visiting Los Banos on Thursday.

“Jake will put the ball in the strike zone,” Manteca coach Neil MacDannald said. “We don’t have a lot of guys that are going to strike a lot of guys out, so our game plan every game is to put the ball in the strike zone, play catch behind that defensively and on offense be really good situational hitters. When you do at least two of those three things pretty well you are going to be successful a lot of times.

“We probably left a couple of guys out there but I am really happy with the effort from the guys. They really grind on both sides of the ball.”

Menasco had just one strikeout and walked none, allowing four hits.

“I just pitch to contact,” Menasco said. “And my defense does good. (Shortstop) Alex (Gouveia) did good today and everyone else did well. 

“I lost last week so it feels good to get the win this week.”

The Buffaloes (3-1) converted four singles into two runs in the second inning. Jonny Murillo led off the frame with a single and took second on a sacrifice bunt by Sam Rohovit. Gouveia singled to put Murillo on third and Murillo scored on a single by Gerson Gomez. Designated hitter Brett Kovacs made the score 2-0 when he hit in Gouveia.

Gomez reached base three times, going 2 for 3 with an RBI. He reached the third time on a fielder’s choice.  

“I just had to focus up at the plate,” Gomez said. “I think we are a pretty good team and if we keep focused and play our best every game we should go pretty far.”

The Tigers (0-2) gift wrapped Manteca’s third run. Kyle Rachels walked for the Buffaloes with one out in the third. He got to third base on back-to-back wild pitches and came home on an error off the bat of Rohovit. Ronaldo Tijero doubled in Menasco in the fourth for Manteca’s last run and a 4-0 lead.

Andrew Brunn relieved Menasco in the sixth and after a rough start – a single and a double led in the first three batters he faced led to the lone Los Banos run – he retired the final four batters to end the game.