After a rough three-game stretch, the Merced College baseball team is back to its winning ways.
The Blues Devils' Central Valley Conference title hopes suffered a serious blow a couple weeks ago with three consecutive losses (all in conference) for the first time all season.
MC (13-4 CVC, 26-8) has bounced back with four straight victories, regaining a game on CVC-frontrunner Fresno City (13-2 CVC, 27-8) in the process.
"We've gotten back to doing the things that make us successful," MC coach Chris Pedretti said. "Pitching, defense and scratching out a few runs."
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The Blue Devils will look to continue that momentum today when they visit West Hills (7-9 CVC, 13-19) for a
2 p.m. contest. The Blue Devils will then host Fresno City on Thursday in a virtual must-win.
The timing seems perfect as a couple of Blue Devils mashers appear to be coming out of recent funks.
Right fielder Bryan Abrey had a two-home run, six-RBI performance against COS last week and first baseman Andrew Bone drove in a pair with a home run of his own.
The production was a welcome sight after MC saw Abrey drive in just one run in his previous six contests. Abrey leads the Blue Devils with 35 RBI and seven home runs.
"It's huge when we get performances like that," Pedretti said. "It allows us to go from just trying to scratch out some runs to winning a little more comfortably."
MC looked anything but comfortable in its last meeting with West Hills as it was shutout by staff ace Dylan Lightell.
The Blue Devils catch a bit of a break, likely missing Lightell after he threw against College of the Sequoias on Saturday.
Knowing he can't afford to give any ground to Fresno City the rest of the way, Pedretti isn't going to mess with his rotation. Brian Gilbertson will take the hill against West Hills with either Bradin Hagens or Brock Floro getting the nod against Fresno City.
Pedretti's going to see how things go against West Hills before committing to a starter for Thursday.
"It doesn't do us any good to beat Fresno City if we lose to West Hills," Pedretti said. "We got our rotation set up after Easter and we're going to stick with it.
"We feel like we have three guys who could be the No. 1 guy for anyone and we're going to take advantage of it."
"It doesn't do us any good to beat Fresno City if we lose to West Hills."
MC COACH CHRIS PEDRETTI