ERIE — With Mead's ace Gunner Pickett set to pitch, the Erie baseball team knew it would have to be sharp if it was going to get a win on Friday.
Opposing Pickett on the mound for the Tigers, starting pitcher Ruben Portillo wasn't as sharp as he would have liked. But he was tough enough to get the job done. Though he walked six batters, Portillo allowed just three hits over his seven innings and pitched the Tigers to a 10-1 win.
"He was great today," Tigers head coach Harold Simmons said. "He's been pitching like an ace and we've needed that from him. It was even better to see him on a day where maybe he didn't have his best stuff and he really battled out there. We made some good plays behind him and it was an all-around good win."
Pickett, who entered Friday's game with a 2.37 ERA after pitching seven strong innings against Windsor on Monday, was pitching on short rest. He allowed four runs (two earned) and struck out five batters in five innings against Erie.
"Gunner is a great kid and you know he's always going to be good out there on the mound," Simmons said. "We knew he was coming in on just three days rest after pitching against Windsor earlier in the week so we tried to go up there and have some good at bats early on to try to wear him down a little bit."
The Mavericks (9-9, 7-6 Tri-Valley) scored first on an RBI single from Riley Glynn in the top of the second inning. The Tigers (11-7, 9-4 Tri-Valley) responded in the bottom of the inning when Nick Gavit led off the frame with a triple and scored on a sacrifice fly from teammate Matt Sorenson.
The Tigers took the lead with two runs in the third and scored single runs in the fourth and fifth before breaking the game open with a five-run sixth inning. Each team has one game left to play and while Erie already looked to be a shoe-in for a playoff berth at 13th in the latest RPI rankings, Friday's loss will be tough for Mead to overcome as the Mavericks were 37th before falling to Erie.
Erie will wrap up the regular season at Coors Field against Holy Family (5-11, 3-9 Tri-Valley) on Saturday. Mead will finish up at home against Berthoud (10-7, 7-5 Tri-Valley) on Monday.
"We're hoping to end the season on a good note before the playoffs start," Simmons said. "Going to Coors, walking into the dugout and on the field, that never gets old. We do it every year and we always look forward to it."
Erie 10, Mead 1
At Erie H.S.
Mead 010 000 0 — 1 3 2
Erie 012 115 0 — 10 8 0
W — Ruben Portillo. L — Gunner Pickett.
Mead hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Michael Ward 3-0-0-0, Scott Martensen 1-0-0-0, Lucas Hale 1-0-0-0, Derek Edwards 3-0-0-0, Gunner Pickett 3-0-1-0, Easton Adler 1-1-0-0, Luke Levine 3-0-0-0, Jake Skrine 2-0-1-1, Riley Glynn 2-0-1-0, AJ Bartel 0-0-0-0, Matt Regan 2-0-0-0, Jesse Skrine 1-0-0-0. Totals 22-1-3-1.
Erie hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Josh Crites 4-1-0-0, Zach Elliston 4-2-1-0, Clint Allen 4-1-3-4, Nick Gavit 1-3-1-0, Matt Sorenson 1-0-0-1, Victor Villa 3-0-2-3, Hunter Nelson 1-0-0-0, Garrett Mayers 2-0-0-0, Ruben Portillo 1-1-0-0, John Mirabassi 0-1-0-0, Ryley Deckert 2-0-1-0, Cooper Bartholomew 0-1-0-0, Anderson Brevin 0-1-0-0. Totals 23-10-8-8. 2B — Allen 3, Villa. 3B —Gavit. SB — Gavit 2.
Mead pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Gunner Pickett 4-5-4-2-4-5, AJ Bartel 2-3-6-2-5-1.
Erie pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Ruben Portillo 7-3-1-1-6-5.