EL DORADO — Pitching, defense and several clutch hits lifted visiting El Dorado past Union Mine 3-0 Monday in Sierra Valley Conference baseball action.
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The Cougars, with a run in the fourth inning and two in the fifth, snapped a two-game skid behind Tim Hinrichs’ four-hitter.
“We expected a close one and days are rare when we get a comfortable win. It was big to get a shutout because they’re hard to come by,” El Dorado coach Rusty McDonald said.
Hinrichs did not allow a hit past the third and retired 11 of the final batters he faced. He was touched for singles from RJ Blake and John Creason in the third but got out unscathed. Earlier, a D’back bunt attempt was popped up to catcher Chris Swineford.
“The defense played well and I felt good the whole way. Pretty much everything (pitches) was working, especially my curve ball and splitter,” Hinrichs said.
Monday’s matchup had the early look of a pitcher’s duel between Hinrichs and Creason until Ryan Rodriguez’ two-out single scored Matt Smith in the fourth. Michael Weston followed with a double but Blake’s relay to Brenden Hunter cut down Rodriguez at the plate.
Creason departed after five but not before El Dorado scored twice more as Zack Culp’s two-out single chased home Louis Merlo and Kevin Morrison after Garrett Scalaro’s sacrifice.
“I had it going early and my defense played great,” Creason said, “Overall the team played well though the batting could have been better.”
Union Mine turned two double plays. Tim Salemi and Sean Tow also pitched for the D’backs.
“We just didn’t take advantage of our opportunities — getting bunts down, hitting behind the runner — while El Dorado did,” Union Mine coach Brett Robinson said. “We played like I expected to in a rivalry game. It means a lot to the kids to get a win against a good team like El Dorado but we just didn’t execute.”
Culp and Rodriguez each had two hits for the Cougars. The teams are back in action today at El Dorado.