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Indians four outs from win over Escalon
Leadoff batter Ceser Nuno gets down the line in a hurry, getting on base to lead off the game and coming around to score two pitches later to give Ripon a quick 1-0 lead Tuesday in their TVL game with Escalon.
ESCALON – With an effort that left the Ripon baseball team four outs from a Trans Valley League win over Escalon High, senior pitcher Justin Scott had everyone in the park anticipating the upset.

Except for those in the Cougars’ dugout.

Escalon got a two-out, game-tying basehit from Trey Balber in the bottom of the sixth to keep Escalon alive and a hit batter would make his way around to score the winning run in extra innings, scarring Ripon with an emotionally draining 2-1 defeat.

Scott (seven innings, four strikouts) was phenomenal in a head-to-head battle with Escalon standout Aaron Pangilian, holding the dangerous Escalon offense scoreless for 17 outs. Scott would go seven full for the Indians, but could only watch as the Indians bullpen allowed a wild pitch to plate the game-winning-run.

“If we were not paying attention to the pitch counts I’d love to have let him go all day,” Ripon head coach Mitch Evans said. “That was just a heck-of-a-game. Pangilian put our bats to sleep for the middle innings. It’s tough, because you don’t want to be satisfied with the effort, because the effort didn’t result in a win. There were some times where we could have put ourselves in a better position to win.

“Not to take anything away from Escalon, that is a great team and that is why they’re always where they are.”

The Cougars, unlike Ripon, rode their horse into the pivotal eighth inning and he definitely responded.  Pangilian (three hits, 11 strikeouts) sat Ripon down in order in the extra frame, getting two harmless ground balls and a strikeout, sealing the deal on an eight-inning gem.

“We were watching his pitch count, he was getting up there, so we had a decision to make on if he was going to go out for the ninth,” Escalon head coach Greg Largent said. “We had (Brandon) Shaw ready just in case, thank God we didn’t have to make that decision.”

Zach Evans was the only Indian to really get a hold of Pangilian with a nice hit, both Alex Gustin and Ceser Nuno opened the game going back up the middle hard, Nuno would come around to score on Gustin’s hit for Ripon’s lone run of the contest.

The two clubs will meet up again Thursday, with Ripon hosting the game.