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Pitching, fielding falter early as BC baseball loses 12-6 to Antelope Valley

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The Bakersfield College baseball team has struggled recently to keep games close in the later innings.

This time, however, the Renegades barely made it out of the first.

BC allowed four runs to open the game and seven more in the third inning against Antelope Valley, and despite considerable improvement on offense as the game went on, fell 12-6 to the Marauders at home Thursday afternoon.

Josh Nuno went 2-for-5 with two RBIs, highlighted by a first-inning triple, and William Joseph and Joe Uribe drove in two more runs each as the Marauders got production up and down their lineup in the early innings.

More critical than any hits, though, were the errors. The Renegades committed six, resulting in their seventh game on the year with at least four. As of Thursday night, they had committed the third-most errors in the state.

In the first inning, a pair of mistakes at shortstop and a failed double-play attempt from third base amounted to three unearned runs, with one earned.

Then two more throwing errors exacerbated Antelope Valley's third-inning offensive explosion, helping the Marauders build their insurmountable 11-run lead. But it wasn't just the defense; Antelope Valley (13-12) piled up seven singles and one triple in the inning, batting around against BC starter Jarrett Brannen.

BC's (7-21) fielding did improve as the game went on, as the infield turned a pair of double plays against Nuno and Joseph to help out Kyle Langston, who took over from Brannen after the third inning and held firm for more than four more.

Offensively, the Renegades got off to a weak start against winning pitcher Brandon Wilson but broke through in the fourth inning with a little bit of good luck, when Andrew Townson's fly ball to left dropped right in front of Nuno with two outs. That gave Grant Holleman the chance to hit his RBI triple to the wall to put BC on the board.

From then on, Jose Ruiz (2-for-4 with a walk, a double and three RBIs) was the Renegades' primary offensive standout. Xabi Iparraguirre finished just 1-for-5, but he followed up Ruiz's key hits with a ground out and a fielder's choice that scored one additional run each. They combined to bring the margin back to 11-6.

Designated hitter Jordan Lopez, batting ninth, reached base thrice in an uncommon start for BC, though he couldn't come through with the bases loaded in the second inning. A game that was already high-scoring could have been even more so, as the teams combined to leave 18 runners on base.

The Marauders ended up tacking on their final run in the top of the eighth on a sacrifice fly from Uribe that scored Joseph to make it 12-6, after BC issued three walks in the inning. Meanwhile, the Renegades couldn't rattle Tehachapi native Ethan Wendell, who was effective in relief for Antelope Valley despite allowing two hits and two walks early on.

The 12-6 loss came two days after the Renegades dropped a back-and-forth 12-7 result in Lancaster. They'll head back out there to play the Marauders a final time Saturday afternoon.

Reporter Henry Greenstein can be reached at 661-395-7374. Follow him on Twitter: @HenryGreenstein.