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WSC baseball: COC cruises into the break

Baseball: Two Cougars pitchers combine to shut out Glendale, 7-0

Posted: March 27, 2010 11:01 p.m.
Updated: March 28, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Nico Moreno (8), of College of the Canyons, makes the throw to first base for the double play during the third inning of Saturday's 7-0 victory over Glendale.

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Brian Kernochan returned to his role as a starter and pitched his best game of the season for College of the Canyons on Saturday.

In his first start since leaving the closer role, Kernochan pitched six scoreless, one-hit innings to lead the Cougars to a 7-0 Western State Conference victory over Glendale at COC.

"He's been fine for us as a closer, but with the way the schedule works, a closer might not throw for two weeks," COC head coach Chris Cota said.

Kernochan (3-0) walked one, hit two batters and otherwise allowed only a fourth-inning single. He struck out five. Cougar Sean Gavin pitched three scoreless innings of relief to complete the shutout. Gavin walked one and allowed two hits as COC improved to 13-7 overall and 7-3 in Western State Conference play.

Hugo Hernandez keyed the offensive attack with a double, a triple and two RBIs. Nico Moreno, Stefan Cordes and Carl Vogelsang each chipped in two hits.

The Cougars took a 3-0 lead in the first inning, sparked by Hernandez's two-run triple. Tyler Pugmire singled and scored on an error as COC added a run in the fourth. The Cougars added two runs in the seventh and another in the eighth on John Schwer's sacrifice fly. Glendale starting pitcher Richie Valenzuela went six innings and struck out seven, but was victimized by three errors as the Vaqueros fell to 11-12, 3-7.

"We bunted well, we came up with timely hits," Cota said. "We're in first place 10 games into a 21-game season. It's nice to go into the spring break in a comfortable spot."

The Cougars begin play in the Spring Tourney at Allan Hancock College on Tuesday and they'll do it with a starting pitcher who is feeling better about his game.

"This was my best outing all season," Kernochan said. "My mental game was better. I relaxed. I've been really struggling with that, just getting myself to wound up.
Today I was just throwing first-pitch fastballs and it worked."

Moving from short relief back to starting wasn't an issue, Cota said, because Kernochan has been getting his work in.

"He still throws his bullpens and if he needs to, we can send him into the bullpen and throw some extra after the game," Cota said.

Adjusting the mental approach was a little harder.

"He's been a guy that thought he had to do it all on his own," Cota said. "He doesn't need to do that here."

With the one-sided victory, there was little for Cota to complain about.

"There are always things you can work on," Cota said. "Gavin came out (in the 8th inning), got the first two batters and then walked a guy. Two-out walks are our nemesis."


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