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  • Writer's pictureJacob Macofsky

Bucs Split Doubleheader, Drop Series against Braves

a right handed batter finishes his swing as a catcher in a red jersey behind him peers upward, apparently at the batted ball.
Anthony DeLuca swings at a pitch against the Bakersfield Braves at LA Valley College July 2, 2022. Photo by Maddy Whiting

Bucs Split Doubleheader, Drop Series against Braves

The GCCL Bucs capped off their three game series against the Bakersfield Braves at Los Angeles Valley College on Saturday, splitting the doubleheader. The Bucs would surge to an easy victory in the first game, riding an early offensive outburst to secure a 14-5 victory. The second game saw dominant pitching from both sides, but it was the Braves who walked away with the win by a score of 5-4, taking the series from the Bucs.

Entering this series, the Bucs were looking to improve on their previous week’s record, finishing 1-1-1. After dropping the first game against the Braves, the Bucs were looking to spread the offensive rallies throughout each inning.

The Bucs bullpen pulled their weight and then some in game 1. RHP Justin Pauly (W, 1-0) entered in the third inning and immediately helped extinguish any threat Bakersfield attempted offensively. Pauly would not allow a hit until his third inning of work and kept the Braves at bay. The Braves could only muster two hits against Pauly while not scoring a single run off him. Pauly finished as the victor, with an overall statline of 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, and 3 K while throwing exactly 80 pitches.

“I [felt] good. I haven’t thrown that much in a long time but the coach told me to get back out there for that long, and he trusted me to keep me in the game… Our defense was huge. I’m a pitch-to-contact kind of guy so having my defense out there backing me up felt good,” Pauly said.

The Bucs offense, similar to their first matchup against Bakersfield, struck gold in the first inning, this time scoring six times on only two hits. They would tack on another three runs through the next two innings before coming alive again in the sixth inning with five more runs. The offense as a whole would sport a combined .830 OPS while also hitting .310 as a team, along with scoring 14 times.

The second game focused more on the pitching prowess of both teams, rather than having the hitters carry the freight. This time it was right-hander Ryder Edwards getting the start, who pitched 6 innings of one-hit ball in his last start.

Edwards simply continued where he left off, keeping the game close throughout his entire start. Edwards did not allow a single hit until the fourth inning, and has now had back-to-back starts where he’s allowed only one hit. Edwards limited the damage in the fourth, picking off a baserunner for a crucial second out and striking out the next hitter for a huge third out. Edwards finished with an impressive stat line of 5 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 5 BB, and 7 K while tossing 97 pitches in a no-decision. Edwards now has a remarkable 0.82 ERA with 13 K over his last two starts.

The Bucs offense could not carry the same momentum they had in the first game of the doubleheader. The Bucs found themselves down by a score of 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh, before Edwards saved the game with his bat, reaching on an error and bringing home the tying run.

After a back and forth eighth inning that saw the game tied again at 4, the Bucs brought in shortstop Evan Kang (L, 0-1) to come in and try and send the game to the bottom of the ninth inning. After a scoreless ninth inning from Kang, the Bucs couldn’t find a way to walk it off, sending the game to the 10th inning.

A one-out RBI single from the Braves proved to be the difference makers, as the Braves would walk away with a 5-4 victory, splitting the doubleheader and taking the series 2 games to 1.

Despite a balanced offense in the first game, the Bucs offense only mustered a combined .222 batting average and a combined OPS of .487 in the second game, bringing the overall OPS from the doubleheader to just .659. The Bucs hitters did not have a single extra-base hit in any of the two games, as their last one came on a double from Chase Kriger from their first matchup. One of the bright spots offensively from the second game was center fielder Maximo Garcia, who had himself a multi-hit game while scoring a run as well.

“In game 1, our offense was really good. We had a couple of baserunning mistakes but overall, our offense was really good. We were able to hit with two strikes and make the pitcher a bit off-balanced…I really liked the way that we conducted ourselves today both in games 1 and 2.”

The Bucs head into their next week having gone 1-2 this week, and 2-3-1 over their past two weeks of play. The Bucs will be on the road to face L.A. Mission at El Cariso Park on Tuesday, with first pitch scheduled for 4:30 p.m.


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