After starter Matt Wood ran out of gas in the seventh inning Friday, Canyon baseball Coach Hi Lavalle brought in reliever Jarrod Kula to retire the final two batters to preserve a 7-4 victory over Moreno Valley Canyon Springs.
The Comanches' first-round victory in the Southern Section 4-A playoffs at Canyon High put them into Tuesday's second round, where they will meet Fullerton, a 3-2 winner over Santa Maria Righetti.
Wood used an effective fastball Friday and did not allow a run until the sixth inning. Canyon (18-7-1) built a 7-0 lead after five innings.
Wood (8-1) retired 14 of 16 batters from the first through fifth innings, but began to tire in the sixth, allowing one run. In the seventh, Canyon Springs (17-10) had its biggest offensive outburst.
With one out, Wood walked two consecutive batters then allowed a two-run triple to Mike Hiatt. Derek Mix followed with his second ground-rule double of the game to score Hiatt, cutting the lead to 7-4.
"Matt wasn't using his curveball as much today," Lavalle said. "It was power against power and when Matt lost his, then . . . "
Lavalle replaced Wood after he had pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowing six hits while strikingout four and walking four.
With a runner on second, Kula came in and got cleanup hitter Darryl Arnold to pop to second, and the next batter, Jay Billiu, to pop to short. It was only the second save of the season for Kula, who will start Tuesday.
Canyon built its lead with the help of two three-run innings. In the second, Tim Sumner's double to left-center field scored Royce Valent and Jeff Brunswig. Valent had two runs batted in.
Canyon's three-run fifth was highlighted by John Schumacher's leadoff homer over the left-field fence.