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Draeger, Vigilantes Beat Salinas

May 28, 1997|LON EUBANKS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

MISSION VIEJO — It's early in the season and Manager Buck Rodgers is only beginning to sort out his Mission Viejo Vigilante pitching staff.

Rodgers got his first look at Mark Draeger Tuesday night against Salinas, and he liked what he saw.

Draeger pitched six solid innings, holding Salinas scoreless through five, and the Vigilantes went on to a 3-2 victory in front of an announced crowd of 1,823 at Saddleback College. It was the Vigilantes' fourth consecutive victory after a season-opening loss.

Draeger, a right-hander who pitched at Slippery Rock and is in his third professional season, gave up only three hits through five innings before the Peppers nicked him for a run in the sixth. But even then, Draeger came back strong.

After giving up consecutive hits to Eddie Comeaux and Kraig Constantino to open the inning, Draeger (1-0) escaped with only one run that came home on an infield out. Draeger ended the inning with a strikeout, his third of the game. The bullpen closed it out. John Homan pitched 2 1/3 innings, giving up one hit and one run in the ninth, before Aaron Magdaleno got the final out with the tying run on second.

"Draeger kept getting better and better," Rodgers said. "He got a double-play ball in the first that helped him, and he worked his way out of that jam well in the sixth. It looks like he's going to be a good find for us. He's come a long way in a short time."

Pitching coach Brad Lesley also was pleased, and said Draeger had earned the No. 5 spot in the rotation with the effort.

The Vigilantes scored twice in the second. Carlos Carrasco, the Salinas starter, hit Alan Burke and gave up a double to Lonny Stare before Eric Brooks and Sean Drinkwater each delivered RBI singles.

The Vigilantes picked up another run in the fifth without a hit. Reuben Smiley, who had walked, stole third and came home when the throw by catcher Joe Walker went into left field.

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