RENO - For the second straight day, the Carson Blue Jays produced a grandslam and a solid pitching performance.
Jace Zampirro overcame one bad inning and pitched a 2-hitter, and Gehrig Tucker ripped a baes-loaded homer to key Carson's 15-4 five-inning win over the Greater Western Nevada Badgers at the Bishop Manogue baseball tournament Friday afternoon.
After a 2 1/2-hour break, the Blue Jays returned to the field and knocked off the Centennial Cannons 10-0 in six innings for their third straight win in the tournament.
Carson goes after its fourth straight win when it battles North Valleys today at 4:30 p.m.
"This is a good thing," said Tucker. "We're not playing down to the competition. We're playing good baseball."
And, opportunistic baseball. In the opener, the Blue Jays got just nine hits, but were the beneficiaries of nine walks. Of the nine walks, six of those runners scored.
"Our guys did a good job of not chasing pitches out of the zone. They had good at-bats," Carson coach Bryan Manoukian said. "We got a lot of walks, but we did a good job of getting clutch hits when we needed them."
The Blue Jays gave Zampirro (9 strikeouts) all the cushion he needed when they parlayed four walks, a balk, an error and singles by Charlie Banfield and Tyler Valley plus a double steal into an eight-run inning.
Zampirro, who had retired eight of the first nine he faced, allowed four runs in the second, all of them unearned when Valley made a two-out error that opened the proverbial floodgates.
"It all starts with defense," Manoukian said. "Jace threw a good pitch, and Tyler unfortunately didn't make the play. He threw it overhand when he should have flipped it underhand.
"I thought Jace threw a pretty good game. Jace got stronger as the game went on (in terms of velocity). Usually it's the first inning where he has trouble. The longer he goes the stronger he gets. That's very comforting."
Zampirro said it's always tough for him to get started, though he was tough the first two innings yesterday.
"It takes a while to get warmed up," he said. "I started to get wild (in the third). After that I started to get things under control. I warm up, but it's different when you get out there. I've read a lot where pitchers say it takes them a while to get warmed up."
A balk and three walks accounted for a run in the third, and Tucker's slam accounted for four of the six runs in the fourth. Valley singled home a run and a walk to Dustin Dutcher forced home another run.
Casey Wolfe, who shut down the Reno Knights for three innings earlier this week without yielding a hit, allowed just two hits and struck out six batters against Centennial.
Centennial started a female pitcher, and she held the Blue Jays scoreless for the first two innings.
Carson struck for three runs in the third, as Valley hit a solo homer and Luke Maher hit a two-run homer, his second round-tripper in as many days.
Valley hit a two-run homer in the fourth as Carson stretched the lead to 6-0. Carson added a run in the fourth, and then Maher's two-run homer in the sixth made it a mercy-rule contest.
Carson had 10 hits in the second game.