After Friday’s 6-3 win over Atwater High, the Turlock baseball squad has won five consecutive games, four of which were Central California Conference clashes.
The ‘Dogs were able to get a spark on the offense after Austin Bush blasted a deep solo home-run in the first inning to cut the deficit to 1-2, and after that his team followed as they tacked on five more runs in the next two innings to take the lead—for good.
Relief pitcher Nick Gonzales, who returned this year after Tommy John surgery last year, tossed 3 1/3 innings to close out the game behind a defense that committed only two errors allowing the Bulldogs to cruise into their seventh league win in eight contests thus far (12-4 overall, 7-1 CCC).
“Bush had a shot to put us near and we are making it happen with the bats this week, we're swinging better,” Turlock head coach Mark de la Motte said. “Gonzo [Nick Gonzales] came in and pitched well, considering he had surgery last year so he is starting to get back to where he wants to be.”
Atwater scored the first two runs in the top of the first inning, but the Bulldogs made it 2-2 after Cody Cornell knocked in the game-tying RBI followed by Gavin Gaffaney’s two-run single to go up 4-2.
In the bottom of the third, Cornell smacked a two-run double to extend the lead to four runs. Cornell went 2-for-3 from the plate with a team-leading three RBIs for the game.
“I have just been working at everything, trying to get better, that’s about it,” Cornell said. “Everyone is doing well, working hard; everyone is starting to play together.”
Starting pitcher Jon Temple would only toss 3 2/3, however still managed to pick up the win despite being subbed out in the fourth with a four-run lead.
Gonzales finished the game, as he struck out five and allowed only two hits.
“Every game comes down to the last inning; most of our games this year have had situation where the tying run is at the plate, so every game is close, there are never blowouts,” Cornell said.
“We did a good enough job defensively and all,” de la Motte said. “Nick [Gonzales] has had some appearance, but building his velocity, strength and endurance, not trying to do too much to him just ease him back into it. He did well, he battled.”
Next week will be the much anticipated cross-town matchup between Turlock and Pitman High on Wednesday at Pitman with the game set to begin at 4 p.m.
“We played Pitman once already, they are good, and it's always a good game, both teams, we're looking forward to it,” de la Motte added.