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Glendale Community College baseball strengthens first-place grip

Baseball: Vaqueros hold off second-place Bakersfield to build two-game lead.

April 16, 2013|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com

GLENDALE — Well aware it was coming into a game with a fairly evenly-matched opponent, the Glendale Community College baseball team put an all-around game together Tuesday night.

With just a handful of games left in the regular season, the Vaqueros, who are ranked third by the California Community College Baseball Coaches Assn., hosted No. 5 Bakersfield – a team they'd split a pair of games with – in a crucial Western State Conference South Division game at Stengel Field.

GCC was backed by another solid outing from starting pitcher Angel Rodriguez, quality defense and enough offense for a 5-1 win.

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“The pitchers did their jobs, the defense did it and we did everything right,” said the Vaqueros' Justin Jones, who was three for five with two runs batted in and a stolen base. “It was a team win, that's what it was.”

It kept Glendale (22-9, 16-3 in conference), which came in with a half-game lead, ahead of the second-place Renegades (24-9, 16-5) in conference with a trip to Bakersfield coming up Thursday at 6 p.m.

“It was a very big game and it relieves a little bit of stress, but every game is important,” said Glendale Coach Chris Cicuto, whose team had six hits in the win. “We're one step closer to getting one of our goals this year and we're back at practice tomorrow. We'll enjoy it tonight and we'll get to the next.”

Rodriguez picked up the win after six strong innings on the mound. He gave up four hits, two walks, a run and struck out five on the day, and was backed by three innings of scoreless relief. Crescenta Valley High graduate Jason Kim pitched an inning of one-hit ball for GCC, while St. Francis High graduate Tei Vanderford closed the door with two innings in which he struck out four and allowed just a hit.

“It came down to the pitching, once again Angel Rodriguez has been one of the top pitchers in our program,” Cicuto said. “[Catcher Chris] Whitmer did an unbelievable job behind the plate, I thought he really controlled the game.

“Having Tei Vanderford out of the bullpen is a great luxury, great luxury. … This pitching staff has been, knock on wood, extremely competitive.”

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