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Tinjaca walk-off gives Glendale Community College baseball much-needed victory

Baseball: Sophomore delivers bases-loaded single in ninth, as GCC notches 9-8 win.

February 08, 2014|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com
  • Glendale Community College's Nick Padilla dives back to second base on an attempted pick off during a nonconference home game versus Victor Valley College at Stengel Field on Saturday. (Raul Roa/Staff Photographer)
Glendale Community College's Nick Padilla dives…

GLENDALE — Off to an unspectacular start against a backdrop of high expectations, Glendale Community College’s baseball team needed a win in the worst way.

After shaking off a sluggish start, the Vaqueros looked to have that needed win in hand with a three-run lead in the ninth.

But nothing came easy Saturday afternoon.

Visiting Victor Valley rallied to tie in the top of the ninth, but that only served to set the table for Oscar Tinjaca’s walk-off heroics.

With one out and the bases loaded, the sophomore first baseman lifted a single over a drawn-in defense to send Glendale to a 9-8 nonconference win over Victor Valley at Stengel Field.

“We needed it extremely bad,” said Tinjaca of the win that improved the Vaqueros to 2-3 on the young season. “It was ugly, but at the end of the day, a ‘W’ is a ‘W.’”

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Tinjaca took an 0-1 offering and blooped it to left-center field, far enough so that the Victory Valley outfielders didn’t even attempt to track it down.

“I just needed to hit the ball over the outfielders’ heads,” said Tinjaca, who was two for five with a walk, a run, a stolen base and two runs batted in, “and I got a pitch I could do it with.”

Glendale entered the season with four preseason All-Americans following three straight Western State Conference championship runs. Though that would likely create expectations for success, as always, Vaqueros Coach Chris Cicuto is quick to dispel any looking ahead or looking back and concentrate only on what this particular team needs to do.

“There is no pressure as far as I’m concerned,” Cicuto said. “It’s a new year.”

As the new year has started out with some struggles, Cicuto believes there’s plenty of talent on the GCC roster, it just needs to mature mentally, as was evidenced in a game in which the Vaqueros committed five of a combined eight errors.

Three of those miscues came in the top of the first as Glendale fell behind, 2-0, on three errors, one hit and a walk. The lead swelled to 3-0 for Victory Valley (1-4) thanks to a three-hit second.

Glendale got across a run in its half of the second when outfielder Carlos Robles (two for three, walk, stolen base, RBI) singled in Nick Padilla (two for four, two RBI, run, hit by pitch).

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