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GCC bats held in check

Baseball: First-place Vaqueros can't answer lights-out performance by Citrus starter in 3-0 conference loss.

March 20, 2012|By Grant Gordon

NORTHEAST GLENDALE — At the onset of what could play out as a pivotal week for the Glendale Community College baseball team, the Vaqueros had the misfortune of running into Citrus starter Mikey Ramirez.

The sophomore left-hander out of West Covina High was on his game and then some, taking a perfect game into the sixth inning on his way to a four-hit shutout in the Owls' 3-0 victory over GCC on Tuesday afternoon at Stengel Field in a Western State Conference South Division tilt.

"That guy threw five pitches for strikes," said Vaqueros Coach Chris Cicuto, whose team was held without a baserunner until a two-out double in the sixth by Julian Jarrard. "He filled up the zone and got us off-balance. I thought he was really, really tough."

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Ramirez struck out four on the day, walked none and got to a three-ball count just three times, as he got the Vaqueros to swing early in the count and relied on phenomenally steady defense behind him.

"It was dynamic," Citrus Coach Steve Gomez said of the performance of Ramirez (5-1). "It wasn't until the seventh that he had a three-ball count. That just shows you the kind of command he had."

The loss dropped first-place GCC to 14-6 overall and 5-2 in the South, with a half-game lead over Citrus (10-11, 5-3 in conference) and Bakersfield (14-6, 5-3) with the Vaqueros set to play a make-up game today against Mission before finishing the home-and-home against Citrus on Thursday and then capping the week Saturday at L.A. Valley. All three games are on the road.

Still, in the quest to repeat as conference champs, Cicuto's well-aware that one game isn't going to determine a season.

"I didn't think we were gonna go through conference with one loss," said Cicuto, whose team won the WSC South last year at 13-8. "It's a matter of how we bounce back. It could be a huge week for us."

GCC, which has lost two of its last three after a six-game winning streak, got a solid start from lefty David Lira (3-1), who battled control problems but settled down and used three terrific outfield plays to keep the game close. He pitched seven innings, allowing one unearned run and two hits, while walking six, striking out two and hitting a batter.

Citrus took a 1-0 lead with a two-out walk and a subsequent single that saw a throwing error allow the lead runner to score.

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