SACRAMENTO — Oak Ridge starting left-hander Robert Gasser and three relievers combined to hold Stockdale to two hits as the Trojans won the North bracket’s third/fourth place game of the Boras Classic at McAuliffe Field Thursday — the Trojans best-ever showing at the 5 year-old tournament.
Gasser pitched the first three innings, yielding one hit while striking out five. His one trouble spot, the first, saw the Mustangs load the bases but not score as Gasser induced the 6-4-3 double play to get his team to the dugout.
“That double play was clutch and a game-changer,” said Gasser who has committed to New Mexico. “This atmosphere … the lights … I was trying to throw harder but struggled with my mechanics. Others said I pitched well but I wasn’t happy with my performance.”
By the time Gasser departed and the bullpen took over, Oak Ridge was up 7-0 and Troy coach Todd Melton had turned to his bench.
“The score and once we got the lead up had something to do with that,” Melton said. “The fourth game of a tournament, we have a bunch of guys that needed reps. We have a four-game week coming up and they can help us.”
Following Gasser with an inning each were RJ Routon and Joe Durket. Junior Varsity call-up Peter Hanson finished up with the final two, fanning six of the eight Stockdale batters he faced. All three — Routon, Durket and Hanson — were making their varsity debuts.
“Just haven’t had the chance to get them in,” Melton said. “We’re deep in arms and set in that department.”
Good at bats and early patience allowed Oak Ridge to put up a run in the top of the first inning and add-on in both the second and third.
Against Stockdale starter Zach Rundle, Trenton Denholm, a UCI recruit, worked a lead-off walk, took second base on an errant pickoff try, stole third and dashed in on a wild pitch.
The Trojans extended in the second, sending eight hitters to the plate and scoring three runs. After CJ Palleri’s lead-off double that nearly left the yard, Brandon Cantaloube walked and catcher John Wynne, in his lone tournament start, hit the first of his two run-scoring singles. With two down, Denholm drilled a single to left to plate Cantaloube and Wynn.
Oak Ridge tacked on another three runs in the third. Cameron Allie, hit by a pitch, stole second as Pallari walked. Wynne and Andrew Romero then produced run-scoring hits with Wynne eventually scoring on a wild pitch.
“The ball looked like a beach ball, I saw it well and knew every pitch that was coming,” said Wynne who went 3-for-4. “Robert (Gasser) pitched amazing and the guys who hadn’t had a single varsity inning are super good … that’s how deep our staff is.”
Thursday’s game saw numerous 3-2 counts. That, coupled with a delayed start, put the Trojan-Mustang matchup in just the fourth inning when the adjacent Bellarmine-Davis title game finished.
Mitch Alhady doubled in Michael Roose in fifth to close the scoring.