By Jeremy Balan
Sacred Heart Cathedral used a five-run third inning to take over the lead that they would not lose in a 8-3 win over Archbishop Riordan in the West Catholic Athletic League opener for both teams at Moscone Field on Tuesday.
“That was the quickest five runs I’ve ever seen anybody score,” said Riordan Head Coach Ron Isola.
The rally began with a two-run double by Sacred Heart (6-0-1, 1-0) senior catcher James Pickerrell and was capped by a two-run home run to left field by senior third baseman Oliver Gutchinov, that landed on the infield dirt of an adjacent field.
The home run pushed the Irish lead to 7-3.
“We swung the bats really well. That’s why we won. We just out-hit them,” said Sacred Heart Head Coach Brian Morgan. “[Gutchinov’s home run] kind of put the game away on one swing. It surprised every one, except for maybe himself.”
Gutchinov went 2-for-3 from the eighth spot in the lineup and Pickerrell went 2-for-4 with three RBIs out of the seventh spot.
“It was the guys at the bottom of the order again,” Morgan said. “When we’re going well at the bottom of the order, we’re going well.”
Riordan (3-4, 0-1) starting pitcher Peter Casey allowed all eight runs on 11 hits in 4 1/3 innings.
“Peter kind of lost it a little bit there. He’s a better pitcher then that and usually has better outings,” Isola said. “I was really happy that he went out there and gave us two more innings, because we play play St. Francis and Valley Christian on Friday and Saturday, and you can use up a lot of pitchers on those two teams.”
Sacred Heart sophomore starter Chris Miguel threw 3 2/3 innings, allowing all three Riordan runs, but showed flashes of excellence along with flashes of wildness. Miguel struck out seven in the game, but often got himself into jams with five walks and a hit batter.
“[Miguel’s] stuff was good. He struck out a lot of guys,” Morgan said. “He just didn’t throw enough strikes.”
Senior right-hander Vito Brovo came on in relief of Miguel and pitched 3 1/3 innings of no-hit ball to shut the door on any ideas the Crusaders may have had of a comeback.
“Vito came in and threw strikes and that’s all we’re asking him to do,” Morgan said. “He was fantastic. We were hoping to get one or two [innings] out of him and he throws [3 1/3] innings and wins the game for us.”