College Baseball: Yavapai College opens season with doubleheader sweep
PRESCOTT - Sophomore starter Tony Vocca pitched a gem on opening day for the Yavapai College baseball team, striking out eight on his way to a 3-0 victory against Lamar Community College on Friday afternoon at Roughrider Park.
The Cottonwood native, who attended Mingus High School, pitched 5 2/3 innings, surrendering four hits with one walk in the first game of a doubleheader.
"(Vocca) really did a good job of pounding the strike zone and he is absolutely one of the most competitive kids I've ever been around in my life," YC coach Sky Smeltzer said. "We always know we are going to get his best... His fastball was really good today and his breaking ball he really had a good feel for."
The Roughriders jumped on the board first in the bottom of the second inning, scoring a run on a shallow bloop single to center field off the bat of freshman center fielder Dean Friedberg.
Friedberg's hit scored freshman designated hitter Tony Piazza, who lined up the middle for the first hit of the inning.
The center fielder finished 2 for 3 with three RBIs.
The hosts held a 1-0 lead until the sixth inning. That's when their bats started to come alive.
"We started off slow," Vocca said. "Some of the freshmen guys were nervous. Us sophomores were anxious to get back on the field and start playing again. But these young guys are really stepping up right now."
The bottom of the sixth inning started off with a Piazza line-drive double down the third base line.
The Scottsdale native went 2 for 2 with a walk.
Piazza tagged to third on a deep fly ball to right field, and Ethan Leiter, who was walked, stole second, setting up second and third with Friedberg coming to the plate.
The freshman drove in both runners, hitting a single to right, which gave the Roughriders a 3-0 lead.
"Offensively, everybody just plays as a team," Friedberg said. "No one is amazing as a hitter. Everyone has the same approach... they have specific jobs and they do them. We played really well as a team."
YC tallied six hits and no errors in the contest.
Friedberg also saved what could have been a two-run hit to center field in the top of the sixth.
With runners on first and second and two outs, Lamar's Tim Zufall hit a blast to deep center field, but Friedberg caught up to it, making the catch right before he hit the wall.
"I actually thought it was gone off the bat," he said. "But, because it was February, I knew that no balls are going to go out (because of the strong incoming wind). It's really hard to hit one out, so I knew I had a chance to track it down."
Freshman closer Miguel Silva, who entered the game with two runners on base, left the sixth inning unscaved and closed out the seventh, giving Yavapai College its first win of the 2011 season.
"Miguel has filthy stuff," Smeltzer said. "The one thing he has is a bad short-term memory. He almost gave up a three-run home run there, but he got over it, he moved on with his life and continued to pound the strike zone."
Silva pitched 1 1/3 innings, gave up one hit and had one strikeout.
"I think our defense was great and that's a tribute to our pitchers," Smeltzer said.
Sophomore catcher Nolan Clark went 1 for 2 with a walk.
Lamar starter Shane Zaruba pitched five innings and had four strikeouts.
"They had a really good pitcher going and we did too much chasing out in front," Smeltzer said.
YC will play a double header against Lamar today, starting at 11 a.m.
Notes: Friday's starting line up was as follows... 2B sophomore Albert Alvares, C sophomore Nolan Clark, 1B freshman Josh Anderson, DH freshman Tony Piazza, RF freshman Jonathan Rodriguez, 3B sophomore Ethan Leiter, CF freshman Dean Friedberg, LF freshman Matt Wehrli, SS sophomore Ashton McCoy.
Yavapai College (2-0) downed Lamar Community College 9-7 in the second game of a double header on Friday afternoon at Roughrider Park.
YC starting pitcher Alex Miranda went four innings, giving up five hits, two earned runs and two walks. He had three strikeouts.
Reliever Robbie Ingram pitched 2 1/3 innings and gave up five hits, four earned runs and three walks.
Clark and Silva pitched the final two innings of the contest, giving up no runs.
Josh Anderson went 4 for 5 and had three RBIs.
Piazza had an RBI and went 2 for 5. Dean Friedberg was 2 for 5 and added two RBIs.