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Fri, Jan. 17

Yavapai College Baseball: Roughriders roll in home opener

PRESCOTT VALLEY - Even though the Yavapai College baseball team has yet to play a true home game, it finally found its way back into the win column.

The Roughriders easily topped the College of Eastern Utah, 14-4, to snap a six game losing streak - five of which came against No. 1-ranked Southern Nevada - Thursday night at Bradshaw Mountain High School.

"It's nice to get in the win column (and) it's nice to start cashing in some runners," 'Riders coach Sky Smeltzer said. "This is a young team who's trying to figure it out and take the experiences from our last two weekends and keep building on those."

Leaving runners stranded was a problem for YC in their last series against Southern Nevada, but the problem never surfaced Thursday past the first inning, when Yavapai College left the bases loaded.

That offensive support did nothing but help pitcher Dustin Hobbs' performance.

"(Catcher) Aaron (Fujiki) called a real good game," Hobbs said. "I didn't think too much, he just put down the pitches and I threw them. I was just trying to relax and keep us in the game."

Over his six innings of work, Hobbs struck out 12 Golden Eagle batters while only giving up six hits.

YC staked its pitcher to an early 2-0 lead after the first inning, when Cam Schiller hit a two-run home run, driving in DeMarcus Tidwell, who led off the inning with a single.

The Roughriders added to that lead in the third when two runners scored on an Eastern Utah error, followed by Fujiki driving in a run with a bunt single.

Things got dicey for Hobbs only once, in the fourth, when he allowed a leadoff single to CEU's Mitchell Cowden, followed by a double by Dusty Fackrell.

With those two runners on second and third, it appeared as if Hobbs would get out of the jam, striking out the next two batters.

But, Beau Bufton followed that up with a home run to cut YC's lead to 5-4.

The Roughriders quickly answered in support of Hobbs.

YC got two runners on and, with two outs in the inning, Cameron Brown crushed a pitch over the fence to give Hobbs and YC all the cushion they would need.

"It's huge. It helps you relax," Hobbs said of the offensive support. "There's no stress on the mound. You know you have the lead and you can throw ground balls, you don't have to strike everybody out.

Smeltzer said he liked what he saw out of his pitcher, especially his attacking style on the mound.

"The one thing he does is pound the strike zone, challenges hitters and goes out and competes," Smeltzer said. "If his stuff is good enough it is and if it's not it's not, and that's the type of mentality you want a kid to have.

Yavapai is expected to play its first true home game of the year today, when they close the series with Eastern Utah with a doubleheader beginning at noon.

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