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Merced College baseball: Carbaugh clutch late

Brian Carbaugh had a week he won't forget anytime soon.

The Merced College relief pitcher had one career victory entering last week's three-game series with Fresno City.

By the time the weekend was through, his total was up to three.

Two wins against one of the elite programs in California is impressive enough, but Carbaugh earned them in some pressure-packed situations.

"(Carbaugh) was able to get strikeouts on both days when they were trying to bunt," MC coach Chris Pedretti said. "He was able to put himself in a position to then get a double-play ball and get us out of the inning, and that's what he did."

Last Thursday's performance set the tone.

On the heels of Fresno's 13-6 dismantling of MC in Merced, Carbaugh entered a tied game in the ninth inning with two on and no one out.

"Going into the ninth, my heart was pounding pretty good," Carbaugh said. "It took me the five warmup pitches to get my heart back to normal.

"I just stuck with my mentality.

"The first guy tried to get the runners in scoring position and fortunately, he couldn't get the bunt down.

"The next guy, I just threw a two-seam fastball inside that jammed him and got us the double-play ball."

The escape swung momentum the Blue Devils' way. Permanently.

MC scored three runs its next time up and pulled out the 5-3 win in 10 innings.

"It was huge," Pedretti said. "You go from thinking they're going to score to getting out of the inning with no damage.

"(Carbaugh's) shown he can come in late in games, make quality pitches and not be overwhelmed."

Pedretti was so confident in his freshman submariner, he trotted him back out on the mound two days later.

Carbaugh pitched 2 2/3 innings of shutout ball on Saturday as MC dispatched of Fresno City 4-3 in 10 innings.

"I couldn't believe the game was going to extra innings again," Carbaugh said. "The second time was much easier.

"I had a lot of confidence from the first game."

Call to Arms

Suzanne Burrola isn't catching a lot of breaks in her first season as MC softball coach.

The rookie skipper was dealt another blow on Sunday when her already thin team lost Ashley Franklin to a knee injury.

The sophomore was retrieving a ball hit over her head near the warning track at She-Devil Diamond when she lost balance and fell to the ground.

Unfortunately for Franklin, her plant leg remained stuck in the ground.

Franklin was on crutches at practice on Monday, but the prognosis wasn't completely catastrophic.

Doctors believe Franklin suffered a sprained LCL and will eventually return to the She Devils.

In the meantime, Nicole Blades will be filling in as the team's second pitcher behind Lindsey Oexle.

"It's not as bad as it could have been," Burrola said. "I told the girls we still have to find a way to play with 10 players.

"Blades is going to see a lot of time in the circle and hopefully we can respond to this."

Hall of Famer

Former Blue Devil defensive lineman A.J. Jenkins was named into the California Community College Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame on March 7.

Jenkins played at MC in 1985 and 1986. He received All-American and all-state honors in 1986 after setting the school's all-time mark with 22 sacks in a season.

Jenkins joins former running back Ruben Droughns as just the second Blue Devil inducted into the CCCFCA Hall of Fame.