Pitching depth helps Rams to baseball win over Aggies

Injuries to a pitching staff usually aren’t a good thing. But a pair of offseason injuries to Rancho’s top pitchers might have made the Rams a stronger team.

With Eric Holdren and Zak Qualls sidelined during the offseason, Rancho developed other pitchers.

The Rams reaped some of the benefits Friday, when Josh Gomez had a solid outing and Qualls came on to get the final five outs in an 8-5 win over Arbor View in the Desert Classic semifinals at Bishop Gorman.

Rancho (13-2) plays South Dade in the championship game at 3 p.m. today at Gorman. South Dade advanced with a 10-9 win over Gorman on Friday.

“Eric broke his nose in January, and Zak was a little tight in the winter. We had an opportunity to bring along six other guys,” Rams coach Tom Pletsch said. “And it’s really been a good thing for us.”

Gomez allowed two runs in the first five innings before running into trouble in the sixth. Pletsch pulled Gomez after he allowed a two-run homer to Joe Citelli that cut Rancho’s lead to 7-5. After allowing a single to Brandon LaPointe, Qualls got P.J. Gonzalez to ground into a double play to end the rally.

Qualls struck out two in the seventh to earn his second save in as many days.

“Zak, we’re just bringing him along slow,” Pletsch said. “We’re keeping his pitch counts down early so that later he’s still strong. Right now, he is kind of that closer guy.”

Gabe Chavira hit a two-run homer in the top of the first as Rancho scored three runs to take an early lead. Holdren had an RBI double in the fourth and an RBI single in the fifth.

Kevin Kline went 3-for-4 with an RBI for the Rams, and Holdren, Brandon Pletsch and Scott Koenen each added two hits.

Colton Hinrickson was 2-for-3 with a triple, a double and two RBIs for the Aggies (9-5).

Contact Prep Sports Editor Damon Seiters at
dseiters@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4587.

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