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Punch and punchless

College baseball: The Master’s College has an up-and-down offensive day

Posted: March 30, 2010 10:35 p.m.
Updated: March 31, 2010 4:55 a.m.

The Master's College's Steve Vranau watches a fly ball he hit in the seventh inning of the second game of a doubleheader on Tuesday at Reese Field.

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Home runs helped The Master's College in the first game of a doubleheader Tuesday, but the longball hurt TMC in the second game.

TMC (13-19) overcame a shaky seventh inning to beat Cal State San Marcos 5-4 in the first game of a nonconference doubleheader before losing the second game 6-1.

In the first of two seven-inning games, TMC got a complete game from pitcher Joe Zeller, who allowed four runs on seven hits, walked two and struck out five.

"I just tried to get ahead early," Zeller said. "I didn't know anything about them. We try to go with our strengths instead of worrying about the hitter."

Jared Otto's two-out, two-run homer capped a three-run third inning for TMC, a rally that staked Zeller to a 4-1 lead. Steve Vranau's solo homer in the sixth made it a 5-1 TMC lead.

Zeller allowed a run in the first, then held the Cougars scoreless until the seventh, when things got wild.

The senior (4-5) got the first hitter of the inning on a ground ball. Matt Jenkins was hit by a pitch. Ricardo Moran singled to center and Kyle Secciani delivered a two-run double. Zeller got the next hitter out on a fly ball, but another run scored on a bloop single to right.

"We misplayed, or misread a ball," TMC head coach Monte Brooks said. "And they capitalized. His pitch count wasn't up. If he'd given up another hit and they tied the game, we could have gone and got him."

Zeller worked out of it, getting the final out on a strikeout.

"I was confident we were going to get the last out," he said.

Things didn't go as well for TMC in the second game. The Mustangs took a 1-0 lead on Otto's sacrifice fly in the first, but that was it for the Mustangs' scoring. Including Zeller's first-inning single, TMC managed three hits in the second game.

The Cougars (19-10-1) scored single runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings and put the game away in the sixth with a solo home run by Moran and a two-run homer by Kevin Silvett. Both home runs were high fly balls that easily cleared the fence in the left field corner.

Brooks was more bothered by his team's lack of offense than the home runs.

"Those guys don't have overwhelming numbers," Brooks said of the Cal State San Marcos pitchers. "We just didn't hit them. We got four hits in the first game and three in the second. The (Johnny) Holtman guy who started the second game had like a seven ERA. We need to have better concentration."


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