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VALLEY/VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Pierce Takes Advantage of Porous Rio Hondo

Baseball: Brahmas allow 16 hits but are aided by eight errors and rally to win, 12-11.

April 10, 1998|VINCE KOWALICK | TIMES STAFF WRITER

WOODLAND HILLS — Pitching and defense define some baseball teams. Hitting and sloppy fielding is more like it for Rio Hondo College.

Rio Hondo peppered Pierce pitching for 16 hits but committed eight errors and allowed the Brahmas to rally for a 12-11 victory in pool play of the Rio Hondo tournament Thursday at Pierce.

Pierce's Jared Hertz lofted a two-run single to cap a four-run eighth inning and reliever Derek Morse pitched a perfect ninth to log his first save.

The rally--which included a run-scoring single by catcher Dave Lusk, who drove in four runs--completed a comeback for Pierce (15-12), which led, 4-0, after a first inning that included two errors by Rio Hondo third baseman David Correa.

Correa and backup Steve Lane combined for five errors. Second baseman Mike Moultrie and shortstop Terry Wood made one each, and center fielder Gilbert Martin lost a fly ball in the sun in the sixth.

Rio Hondo Coach Mike Scolinos described this season's team as his worst in 12 years. The Roadrunners are 7-18-2.

"What you saw today is pretty typical for us," Scolinos said. "We've had games where we've had more errors than this. We're not very good defensively. We have a lot of kids who weren't able to make grades this year."

Two errors by Correa set up a big inning for Pierce in the first. Lusk blasted a three-run home run with two out and Micah Berger followed with a home run.

Rio Hondo left-hander Cory Willson, a sophomore from Atlanta, allowed six hits in seven-plus innings, striking out two and walking none. But he found himself in repeated jams because of his defense.

"It's been that way a lot this season," Willson said. "We have a lot of freshmen and they're not able to adjust. I made a few mistakes today, some bad pitches, and allowed a couple of home runs. Right now, we're just not very good."

The Roadrunners seem to be with their bats. Rio Hondo ignited for six consecutive hits and four runs to tie the score, 4-4, in the third against freshman left-hander Barry Matthews.

Martin delivered the big blow with a two-run double. Jose Trujillo and Jerry Jacobo had run-scoring singles.

The Roadrunners moved ahead with three runs in the fifth, a rally that included four hits, including a double by Jacobo. Correa and Andrew Argott had run-scoring singles.

Matthews allowed seven runs and 12 hits before being replaced by freshman right-hander Bryan Kaye in the sixth. Kaye (1-0) survived, despite allowing four runs, including a two-run homer by Martin in the eighth that gave Rio Hondo an 11-8 lead.

Willson was replaced by freshman right-hander Robert Cervantes after allowing a leadoff walk in the eighth. Cervantes (1-2) struck out Danny Phillips and Greg Venger, then walked Matthews.

Seth Barkley and Lusk followed with singles and Berger walked to set the stage for Hertz, a pinch-hitter for first baseman Gavin Bible.

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