Gau pitches 1st-place Staples baseball past McMahon
Published 1:15 am, Friday, April 15, 2011
Fortunately for the Wreckers, who entered the afternoon as one of the four remaining unbeatens in the conference, the hard-throwing southpaw had more tools in his arsenal.
Gau mesmerized the Senators with a sharp-breaking slider and an upper-80s fastball--before mixing in his curveball late--as he tossed a complete game, two-hit shutout in a 10-0 victory over the Senators.
"In the first three innings, I didn't throw a curveball once. I was usually doing the slider. Towards the end I started working with (the curveball) and finally got comfortable with it," said Gau, who struck out a career-high 14. "Usually my curveball's my best pitch and it didn't work today until the later innings."
The Senators (4-1) had just six baserunners and were held hitless until the fifth inning, when left fielder Brandon Davis reached on an infield single. Gau, a senior, walked two and also hit a batter.
"I don't think we're going to face another lefty early in the season that has that kind of stuff. If we do, we may lose. But most of the games, we're not going to face guys like that," said McMahon head coach John Cross, adding that it's important that the Senators do not peak too early.
The Wreckers provided Gau with plenty of support at the plate as they pounded out 14 hits and built a nine-run lead after just four innings. Facing the Senators' No. 3 starter, righthander Ricardo Torres, the Wreckers plated four runs on five hits in the second inning to build a 5-0 lead. The Wreckers finally broke the game open in the fourth as they led off the inning with three straight singles before first baseman Colin McCarthy drilled a three-run home run.
Torres allowed nine runs on 12 hits over 4.2 innings before being replaced by Will Atkin.
With the victory, Staples improved to 5-0 and has made a smooth transition depsite graduating the core that helped it win two FCIAC titles in the last three seasons--infielder Jack Hennessy (the conference Player of the Year in 2010), pitcher David Speer and catcher Grant Moss.
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"When we lost last year, I told people we're reloading, we're not rebuilding," Staples head coach Jack McFarland said. "A lot of people looked at me like, `Yeah, you're reloading. Sure, without Hennessy, Speer and Moss.' I said `We've got a lot of kids who have won a lot of baseball games.'"
Center field Ben Lipper recorded four hits and scored four runs for Staples, while left fielder Bren Bernstein added three RBI in the win.