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SAM GANGWER , STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Woodbridge pitcher Jake Larson yells to celebrate getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning against Beckman on Tuesday.

Early runs set tone as Woodbridge tops No. 9 Beckman

STAFF WRITER

IRVINE - Woodbridge pitcher Jake Larson got a big lift from his teammates early on in a Pacific Coast League match-up with No. 9 Beckman on Tuesday afternoon at Ryan Lemmon Stadium.

The Warriors scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning on an RBI double by Jackson Lyon. Then Larson pitched solidly for five more innings to lead Woodbridge to a 7-1 victory that moved the Warriors into a tie for first place with Beckman.

Larson struck out eight and scattered five hits. He had a shutout until the sixth inning when Beckman (15-2, 5-1) scored on a double by Tyler Geurts. The hit drove in Connor Fidone, who had walked.

Sophomore Kyle Giberson came on to pitch a scoreless seventh inning for Woodbridge (12-5, 5-1).

“One of the things we’ve been working on as a team is being aggressive and getting on the board early and it really helped my confidence on the mound and it made the game much more fun,” Larson said.

Larson (5-2) downplayed the importance of the victory.

“I’m not even looking at standings right now; we just got to keep playing game by game,” he said.

Woodbridge managed 10 hits off four Beckman pitchers, including starter Will Cohen. Cohen (2-1) pitched into the fourth inning.

Lyon was 3 for 4 with two RBI, Ryan Santa Cruz was 2 for 4 with a run scored, Zak Baayoun was 2 for 3 with an RBI and a run scored, Jared Kaleikini was 2 for 2 with two runs scored and three RBI and Shoma Yoshida scored two runs to lead the Warriors.

“This is a team that can win the league and we know that,” said Woodbridge coach Tim Murray. “We just have to play that way and we played well today. We talk a lot about playing the game of baseball and our kids came to play today.

“It’s one step at a time. It’s a process. You can’t get too far ahead of yourself.”

The Warriors snapped Beckman’s eight-game winning streak. The Patriots’ only other loss came March 19 when they fell to Mission Viejo, 6-2, in the Newport Elks Tournament.

Beckman made four errors and Patriots pitchers hit three batters and walked three.

The Patriots managed just three hits through five innings off Larson.

“He was good,” Beckman coach Kevin Lavalle said of Larson. “I just told the team if we had played really, really well and lost 7-1, I think we would be in some serious trouble, but the facts are the facts. We didn’t play well and they did.

“We just have to move forward from here. It’s uncharacteristic, but we’ve won games where we’ve been on the other side of the table. So, there is no magic solution to it. It’s preparedness and the ability to handle adversity.”

Woodbridge and Beckman play again Friday at Beckman at 3:30 p.m.

Contact the writer: tburt@ocregister.com


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