BASEBALL: Balers blank Mustangs, 4-0

Gilroy's Bubba Lara makes the catch but misses the out as San Benito's Josh George slides in safe at second during their game Thursday.

Two days after Gilroy High and San Benito combined for 17 runs, just four were needed to decide Thursday’s Tri-County Athletic League tilt – and all four belonged to the Balers.

San Benito starter Anthony Ocampo allowed one hit and struck out five in a Balers’ 4-0 nod over the host Mustangs – their second straight victory over GHS in as many days.

“My location and accuracy were a big part today,” Ocampo said. “I just kept the ball down and got the off-speed (pitches) working.”

It’s the Balers sixth consecutive win over the Mustangs and eighth in the last nine meetings. San Benito, which is now 2-0 in league play defeated GHS (2-2 overall, 0-2 TCAL) 11-6 on Tuesday in Hollister, doing most of its damage late in the ball game. Gilroy led 6-3 in the bottom of the fifth before San Benito scored eight times over the next two innings.

A second-inning single by Jordan Dexter panned out to be the Mustangs’ lone hit Thursday afternoon. Only two other boys in blue reached base – one after an error and another via hit batsman.

“Tuesday they hit the ball, scored some runs but ruined it on the defensive side. Today – a complete 180,” GHS’s first-year manager Jared Gamble said. “Brenden Holler pitched one of the best games I’ve seen. He dominated. Defense was clean. No errors. But, we couldn’t produce anything. There was a lot of selfish hitting.”

Ocampo’s gem overshadowed the said performance of Gilroy’s junior pitcher. Holler was just as effective in keeping Baler batters off balance through the first five innings, surrendering three hits and striking out four as the two team’s entered the sixth scoreless.

The Balers again made their mark in the latter stages of Thursday’s contest. A leadoff walk to Josh George (who had four base-on-balls in the game) came back to haunt Holler and the Mustangs in the top of the sixth. George stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Jacob Tonascia’s RBI-single up the middle. Guzman chased home pinch runner Cody Freitas with a screaming double to left field to lift the Balers ahead 2-0.

“We had some missed signals early, so that kind of kept us out of it a little longer,” San Benito manager Billy Aviles said. “But when the opportunities presented themselves, we took advantage.”

The Balers touched up Gilroy reliever Marcus Medina in the top of the seventh, adding two more runs. Marcus Sabatte made it 3-0 with a RBI sacrifice fly and Tonascia produced his second RBI with a two-out single.

With six pitches, the Mustangs were retired in order in the bottom half to the seventh.

“There are three parts to baseball: hitting, pitching and defense. They did two of them great today,” Gamble said. “And the thing they do best didn’t show up. It’s frustrating when you can’t help your pitcher out. They are better than that, and I told them that.”

The Mustangs have a quick turnaround and jump back on the diamond today at home at 3:30 p.m. against Salinas.

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