FREMONT — What started as a battle of southpaws came down to a pair of right-handed relievers as Ohlone outlasted College of San Mateo 5-3.
The Bulldogs (9-4 in Coast Golden Gate Conference, 15-10 overall) jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the third inning, sending nine batters to the plate in the inning. But the Renegades (10-5 in Coast Pacific, 21-6 overall) answered right back with three runs of their own in the bottom of the frame and led the rest of the way.
“Obviously it’s a game of momentum and we gave it right back,” Bulldogs manager Doug Williams said. “We didn’t throw strikes. We didn’t hit. And we didn’t catch the ball. Other than that we played super.”
Williams’ frustrations stemmed from CSM pitchers issuing eight walks in the game, three of which came around to score.
Meanwhile, Ohlone freshman Brady Moore came on in the fifth to shut down a CSM rally then went on to fire five shutout innings to close it out for the win to improve to 5-1.
“[Brady] pitched well,” Williams said. “He was in the zone quite a bit. We just didn’t show up today. We were not here physically or mentally and we’ve got to get better at that. That’s my fault because we didn’t have a good enough practice yesterday. So, we’re going to have to go home and work on it.”
Bulldogs freshman Conyal Cody lasted three-plus innings, yielding four runs on five hits while walking four and striking out one. The left-hander gave way to sophomore Skylar Fuss in the fourth. Fuss worked four innings, turning in three scoreless frames before issuing a leadoff walk in the fourth which came around to give Ohlone a valuable insurance run.
Ohlone starter Jaramy Jacobs worked four-plus innings, giving way to the bullpen after allowing the first two Bulldogs batters to reach in the fifth. In the inning, with CSM trailing 4-3, Dylan Isquirdo drew a leadoff walk and Steve Pastora got one of his three hits on the day to give the Bulldogs runners at first and second with no outs. But Brady emerged from the pen to retire the next three CSM batters in order to disallow the base runners from advancing.
“He’s done that all year long,” Ohlone manager Mike Curran said. “He’s got a good reliever’s mentality. A reliever has got to come in and has got to pound the zone. At this level, if you pound the zone, guys are going to get themselves out. And he did a really good job of that [Wednesday].”
Brady wrestled the tempo of the game away from a lethargic CSM pitching approach. Early in the game, with runners on base, Cody brought the tempo of the game to a grinding halt. But Brady hit the mound running the fifth, recording three outs on six pitches and went into all-out attack mode to pick up the pace of the game in a hurry.
“That’s really what we teach these guys is we want them to get on the mound, get the sign and let’s go,” Curran said. “We want to control the tempo. We want guys to get after it. We want them to attack batters.”
Ohlone got on the board with an unearned run in the second. Josh Egan reached on a leadoff infield single when CSM second baseman Dane Vande Guchte couldn’t get a handle on a tricky bounder over the middle. After a one-out walk to Justin Chase to move Egan to second, Isaiah Bond shot a would-be double-play ball to second that went through the legs of Vande Guchte and into center to allow Egan to score, giving the Renegades a 1-0 lead.
In the third, the Bulldogs sent nine batters to the plate. Kailen Robinson drew a leadoff walk then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Vande Guchte. Miles Mastrobuoni followed with a line drive single to right to move Robinson to third. Isquirdo followed with a safety squeeze to plate Robinson with the tying run. But they didn’t stop there. Pastora followed with an RBI single to center to score Mastrobuoni with the go-ahead run. After a walk to Makana Lyman and a hit batsman by Tyler Carlson, Austin Lonestar drew a bases-loaded walk to score Pastora, giving CSM a 3-1 lead.
The small-ball attack continues to be an integral part of the Bulldogs’ game.
“It’s an everyday thing,” Isquido said. “We work on small ball every day. So, it’s kind of like second nature to us to get the ball down when we need to. When it’s called upon, anybody in our lineup can get it done.”
As the Bulldogs’ catcher, Isquirdo may seem like an unconventional choice as a No. 2 hitter. But the freshman actually hit in the two-hole for three seasons at Foothill High. And since he started hitting in the No. 2 spot for CSM March 22 against Cabrillo, Isquirdo has reached base seven times in four games.
“[Williams] came up to me and asked me, how do I feel about the two-hole? And I was like — I’m there,” Isquido said.
With the win, third-place Ohlone remains in the thick of the Coast Pacific Conference race, a game back of first-place Cabrillo and a half game behind second-place Cañada. The Renegades are ranked No. 5 among California Community College teams and at 21-6 have the second best overall record in Northern California. In the Coast Golden Gate race, CSM falls three games back of first-place Chabot and one game behind second-place Mission.