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Vaqueros Sweep Pima

Nick Cheema touches after a blast in game two. -Oscar Perez-Pinal Central
Nick Cheema touches after a blast in game two. -Oscar Perez-Pinal Central

Ed Petruska-Contributing witer-Pinal Central

SIGNAL PEAK — Up until the sixth inning of Game 2, runs were kind of hard to come by for the Central Arizona College baseball team.

The Vaqueros rallied for eight two-out runs in the bottom of the sixth en route to an 11-3 victory over Pima to complete a doubleheader sweep on Tuesday. Nick Trogrlic-Iverson pitched a complete-game three-hitter in the seven-inning opener as Central prevailed 4-1.

Central, ranked No. 19 in the NJCAA Division I poll, had split its previous two twinbills.

"We've been playing pretty good, but it's tough to sweep," CAC coach Anthony Gilich said. "It always feels good if we can get two."

The Vaqueros (35-7, 15-7 Arizona Community College Athletic Conference) had 12 hits in Game 2 to double their total from the opener.

"Our offense opened up," Gilich said. "Getting that eight-spot gave us a pretty good chance to win."

Nick Cheema and Daniel Cervantes homered for CAC in Game 2, and No. 9 batter Brennan Reback drove in three runs. Ernny Ordonez, Jake Vander Wal, Cervantes, Cheema and Reback each had two hits.

Cheema went 2 for 2 with two doubles in Game 1.

The Vaqueros went up 2-0 in the third inning of the opener. Cheema delivered an RBI double and Clayton Keyes came home on a passed ball.

After the D-II Aztecs (16-22, 8-20 ACCAC) scored in the top of the fifth, Central took a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the inning on Cheema's two-out double and Reback's RBI single.

Alix Garcia had a two-out single in the sixth off Pima starter Adam Moraga, who also went the distance, and came around on a single by Cervantes.

Trogrlic-Iverson (7-1, 1.79 ERA) notched his fifth complete game in 10 starts. The sophomore right-hander struck out eight and walked three.

"He's pretty special," Gilich said. "He's efficient, even with the amount of strikeouts he gets (73 in 60 1/3 innings). He only threw 85 pitches, so it was pretty easy to leave him in there."

The Vaqueros took a 2-0 lead in Game 2 against Ryon Craig, getting RBI singles from Vander Wal in the first and Reback in the second. Cheema led off the fourth with a home run to make it 3-1.

Central sent 12 batters to the plate in the sixth. Nine reached base as the Vaqueros took advantage of five hits, three walks and a hit batter against four Pima pitchers.

With two on and two out, Reback doubled to drive in both runners. Then came an RBI single by Ordonez, a run-scoring wild pitch and Garcia's two-run single.

Cervantes capped the big inning with a towering two-run homer to center.

CAC starter Jacob Hilton (6-1, 1.94 ERA) allowed four hits while walking four and striking out six in five innings. Both runs off him were unearned.

"His command was a little off," Gilich said. "I was actually happy he got through five innings."

Matt Dalke pitched a 1-2-3 sixth for the Vaqueros, who are 21-2 at home. Former Vista Grande High School standout Luis Tellechea retired six of the eight batters he faced, giving up an unearned run, and Grady Miller held Pima scoreless in the ninth despite issuing three consecutive two-out walks.

First baseman Garcia made the defensive play of the game when he snared a liner to start an unassisted double play in the third. Pima had already scored a run and had runners at first and third with nobody out at the time.

"We were in a bind," Gilich said.

Central entered Tuesday's play as the third-place team among the ACCAC's six D-I teams, trailing South Mountain by four games and Cochise by one. Arizona Western was one game behind CAC and Yavapai was three behind the Vaqueros. The top four qualify for the Region 1 playoffs.

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