SIGNAL PEAK — After extending its season-opening winning streak to 31 games, the second-ranked Central Arizona College baseball team was saddled with its first defeat in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader at Phoenix.
The Vaqueros were held to four hits — all singles — in a 5-1 loss to the Bears. Their lone run scored on a seventh-inning RBI groundout by Ryan Grabosch.
“We had a few chances, but we couldn’t get that big hit,” CAC coach Anthony Gilich said. “We haven’t had to bounce back from a loss, so it will be a good opportunity to see how the guys respond.”
Central (31-1, 21-1 Arizona Community College Athletic Conference) swept a March 30 doubleheader from host Mesa, winning 16-2 and 13-2.
“We won the week, which is what we strive to do,” Gilich said. “When you win the week, it makes it easier to flush a loss.”
Phoenix (9-15, 7-13 ACCAC) took a 5-0 lead against CAC starter Daniel Davila, scoring one run in the second inning and four in the fourth.
Dayton Dooney had two hits for the Vaqueros, but they couldn’t do much else against Phoenix starter Jayce Burkett (one run and four hits in 6 1/3 innings) and reliever Adrian Santa Cruz (zero runs and zero hits in 2 1/3 innings).
Central rolled to a 10-1 victory in Game 1. Florence High School product Mat Olsen went six innings, allowing an unearned run in the first and six hits. Olsen (7-0) struck out eight and walked two.
Drew Sommers pitched a scoreless seventh, giving up one hit.
The Vaqueros took a 4-1 lead with a three-run second. They scored one in the sixth and five in the seventh.
Dooney went 2 for 4 with a bases-clearing double, Dusty Garcia went 2 for 3 with a two-run homer, and JD McLaughlin went 2 for 4 with a solo home run. Jake Jarvis also had two of CAC’s 11 hits. Kiko Romero, Devon Dixon and Matt Aribal each had one RBI.
CAC had 12 hits in each game against Mesa, and 16 of those 24 went for extra bases.
Grabosch doubled twice and had six RBIs in the opener, which also featured a three-run homer by Preston Godfrey. Vinnie LaGatta knocked in two runs, and McLaughlin had a double and two RBIs for the Vaqueros, who put up five runs in the first, third and seventh innings.
Hunter Omlid (7-0) went the distance in the seven-inning game. The right-hander allowed five hits, struck out seven, walked one and hit one.
Tyler Woessner (7-0) pitched five shutout innings as the starter in Game 2, giving up three hits and three walks while striking out seven. CAC scored five in the third and three in the fourth and owned a 9-0 lead after batting in the top of the sixth. Gilich used four relievers to complete the nine-inning game.
Among Central’s nine extra-base hits in Game 2 were home runs by Seth Beckstead and Hayden Seldomridge. McLaughlin had a triple.
Jarvis went 4 for 5 with three doubles and two RBIs. Dooney was 2 for 3 with a double and two RBIs, and Romero had two doubles.
The Vaqueros play a doubleheader at Yavapai (17-12, 12-8) on Tuesday and host a twinbill against Arizona Western (19-7, 11-5) on Saturday.
The Vaqueras lost 79-60 at Eastern Arizona on Friday in their regular-season finale and will enter the Region 1 tournament as the No. 2 seed.
Central (7-3, 6-3 ACCAC) faces third-seeded Arizona Western (5-8, 4-5) on Tuesday at the George Young Activity Center. Cochise (0-10, 0-8) plays at top-seeded Eastern (14-2, 8-2) in the other first-round game, with the winners advancing to Friday’s title game at the highest seed. The Region 1 champion qualifies for the NJCAA Tournament on April 19-24 in Lubbock, Texas.
The Vaqueras went 3-0 against Western and 1-3 against Eastern during the regular season.
The Gila Monsters outscored Central 19-11 in the first quarter of their latest matchup and led 35-21 at halftime. Eastern took a 57-43 lead into the final period.
Senya Rabouin scored 17 points to lead CAC, followed by Denali Hughes with 14 and Seairra Hughes with 13.
The Vaqueras routed visiting Cochise 91-65 on March 30 behind 28 points and 14 rebounds from Denali Hughes and 24 points and 11 rebounds from Seairra Hughes. Mia Ross provided 13 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists, and Rabouin had 17 points.
Central led 23-11 after one quarter, 44-34 at halftime and 72-51 after three periods.
The Vaqueras split a doubleheader at South Mountain on March 30, winning 4-1 in the opener and losing 13-4 in six innings under the eight-run rule in Game 2.
Sarah Norton registered 17 strikeouts without issuing a walk in Game 1. She allowed four hits and hit three batters.
Central (16-9, 10-6 ACCAC) overcame a 1-0 deficit with two runs in the fourth inning and single runs in the fifth and sixth.
Driving in one run apiece were Bella Garcia, Brooke Williams and Serinah Sanchez. Sonia Solis, Danielle Farinas and Garcia each had two of CAC’s 11 hits, four of which were doubles.
The Vaqueras began Game 2 with a two-run first inning, but South Mountain struck for three in the bottom of the first, two in the second and two in the fourth to go up 7-2. After Central narrowed the margin to 7-4 with a two-run fifth, the Cougars answered with one in the fifth and five in the sixth.
Garcia went 2 for 3 with two RBIs, and Solis was 2 for 3 with one RBI. Nicol Ley also had two of CAC’s 10 hits.
The Vaqueras will play a home doubleheader against No. 14 Arizona Western on Saturday. The Matadors brought a 22-7 overall record and 10-2 ACCAC mark into Tuesday’s doubleheader at Eastern Arizona.
The Vaqueros ended the regular season with an 83-61 home loss to Cochise on March 30.
Jalen Menzies led Central with 16 points, followed by Brenton Woods with 15 and Noah Self with 14.
CAC (3-9, 3-7 ACCAC) trailed 39-26 at halftime and was outscored 44-35 in the second half.
The Vaqueros are scheduled to play at Arizona Western (10-2, 7-2) on Wednesday in the opening round of the Region 1 tournament. The winner advances to Saturday’s title game at Cochise (9-3, 8-2).
Central went 0-3 against Western and 1-3 against Cochise during the regular season.
Fans are not allowed to attend any CAC athletic events due to coronavirus restrictions.