JUCO Baseball: Rams use clutch hitting to beat Hartnell

Gavilan Rams

GILROY—Gavilan used small ball and an eight-inning outing from Gabe Katich to roll past Hartnell 8-3 Thursday at home.
The Rams took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second when a sacrifice fly from Tyler Slayday brought home Edgar Arriola. Arriola doubled to begin the inning and advanced to third after Matt Peterson grounded out to Hartnell pitcher Brandon Granger.
The Rams struck again in the bottom of the fifth with three runs. Gavilan got back-to-back hits from Brennan Wilson and Tony Amaral to put men on first and third bases. Several pitches later, Amaral stole second, setting up a two-RBI opportunity for Bryant Cid.
And Cid took full advantage of it.
The Ram doubled off Granger to get his two RBIs of the night and put the Rams up 3-0. Erik Barron completed the three-run inning by scoring Cid from second with a single.
“We’re built to score one (run) an inning; moving guys over (and) somebody getting a clutch hit. That’s what we are built for,” Gavilan coach Neal Andrade said.
Cid went 2 for 4 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Barron was also 2 for 4 with two RBIs. Amaral had two hits and two runs for the Rams, while Wilson scored two runs.
That’s all the run support Gavilan starting pitcher Katich needed. He tossed eight innings giving up six hits, a walk—he hit Panther’s Luis Mendoza on the left forearm—and an earned run. Katich improves to 5-1 for the season.
Gavilan’s ace didn’t give up a hit until the top of the fourth inning. He allowed a single and double to start a dangerous inning for Hartnell. The Panthers had men on second and third with no outs, but Gavilan escaped unscathed thanks to a strikeout and two ground balls from Katich.
“(The) biggest thing is pounding the (strike) zone,” Katich said. “(Throw) lots of strikes especially when you’re up a lot. All you want to do is throw strikes.”
Katich again got into trouble in the top of fifth. With two outs he allowed a single and a double. He ended the threat by picking up a ground ball and tossed it to first baseman John Forestieri.
“Gabe (Katich) always battles. He got out of some tough jams early,” said coach Andrade.
The Panthers finally got on the board on the top of the sixth. Lane Larronde used his speed to reach home from first base when Jose Guzman doubled on a hard ground ball to left field. That’s all Hartnell could muster up as it stranded men on first and third.
“(Katich) gets better when adversity is there,” Andrade said. “That’s him in a nutshell.”
Gavilan put the game out of reach in the bottom of the seventh, adding three more runs by capitalizing on errors from the Panthers’ defense. A passed ball and a throwing error by catcher Michael Secrist put the Rams up 7-1.
“Run support definitely helps you out. You try to not be as perfect as when it’s a tight game. You have a little more breathing room,” said Katich.
The Rams took advantage of another passed ball in the bottom of the eighth, taking a commanding 8-1 lead to the top of the ninth.
Gavilan finished with nine hits and five walks. Eight of the nine starting players got on base at least once during the game.
Hartnell jumped on Gavilan’s relief pitchers for the top ninth. It scored two runs off pitchers John Angel and Omar Sierra-Zuno.
Gavilan also beat Cabrillo 3-2 Saturday in Aptos. Cid went 2 for 4 with a run scored and two stolen bases. Sean Allen went 2 for 3 with a run, a double and an RBI. Barron got the win on the bump and improved to 4-0. He struck out nine over nine innings and allowed five hits.
The wins improve Gavilan to 6-2 in its conference and 13-5 overall.
“This (puts us) back on track where we need to be,” Katich said.

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