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A.J. Work, TMC baseball takes care of Vanguard

Posted: April 5, 2013 6:45 p.m.
Updated: April 5, 2013 6:45 p.m.
 

Vanguard University had a second try at figuring out A.J. Work, The Master’s College baseball teams’ ace, on Friday.

They couldn’t do it.

Work pitched eight innings, allowing one unearned run on six hits and he struck out seven in the Mustangs’ 4-1 win over Vanguard at Reese Field.

“I’ve been waiting for a crisp outing like this all year,” said Work. “And it’s nice because I haven’t had a decent outing my last three or four starts. Praise God for allowing me to do what I did.”

Friday was Work’s second win against Vanguard (16-22 overall, 9-16 Golden State Athletic Conference) this season. The first came on Feb. 15 when Work allowed one run over seven innings.

“He was really good at throwing first-pitch strikes early in the game,” said Mustangs pitching coach Sam Minyard of Work. “When he gets ahead of guys, he is really hard to hit.”

The win, Work’s eighth of the year, moved him into a tie for the Golden State Athletic Conference lead.

For TMC (30-11, 20-8 GSAC), Spencer Downs, Ryan Shackelford and Sam Robison backed Work up with two hits each. Downs drove in a run with a single in the first inning and another run with a double in the fifth.

Work credited the strong play of TMC’s defense, singling out Robison, who made a sliding stop on a one-hopper at second base to start a double play. The double play was a part of a three-pitch seventh inning.

Through the first four innings, Work pitched to the outside part of the strike zone, but Vanguard’s familiarity with him forced a change in the fifth.

“Every team I face now looks away, away, away because that’s how I pitch, low and out with fastballs,” Work said. “Pitching away was working the first four innings and then I could tell they were looking away, so I started busting everyone inside.”

TMC’s Cody Harris pitched the ninth inning for his fourth save and thanks to Westmont’s 7-3 victory over Concordia, the Mustangs increased their GSAC lead to 3 1/2 games.

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