River City starting pitcher Jason Wullenwaber struck out 10 El Dorado hitters, leading the visiting Raiders to a 6-1 victory in Tuesday’s Sierra Valley Conference varsity baseball game.
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Cougar starting pitcher Nik Rowen battled, allowing just two earned runs through five innings, but he ran into trouble in the sixth thanks to three consecutive hits by the bottom half of the Raider lineup that pushed their lead to five.
In the bottom half of the sixth the Cougars mounted a comeback, advancing runners to second and third with one out courtesy of outfielder Justin Dillon’s single up the middle, followed by a James Frost double off the right-center field wall.
Rowen came up next and sent a well-hit ground ball up the middle that had RBI single written all over it until it was snagged by Wullenwaber, who turned quickly to third and picked off a leaning Dillon to erase any and all El Dorado momentum.
“That was a real hard play. By the time he (Wullenwaber) had it in his glove it was too late, Justin was already too far down the line,” El Dorado coach Rusty McDonald said.
Frost tallied the only RBI in the fourth inning for a Cougar offense that struggled to pull the trigger against Wullenwaber’s fastball, which he occasionally delivered from the side. Out of the 10 strikeouts he dealt to El Dorado’s hitters, seven came in the “looking” variety.
The bats did wake up in the latter part of the game but it was too little too late for a Cougar squad that now sits tied atop the Sierra Valley Conference standings with Galt.
The Cougars will look to reclaim sole possession of the top spot on Thursday when they visit the Raiders for the final matchup of the season.
“We just gotta keep playing hard and put together some wins.” McDonald said.
Notable contributors for El Dorado were Chris Swineford, who finished the day 2-for-3 and Dillon who also went 2-for-3 at the plate, scoring the Cougars’ only run on a Frost ground-out.,