MINDEN — Without Gehrig Tucker, Jace Zampirro and Chase Blueberg in the lineup, Carson wasn’t expected to put up much of a fight Thursday night against rival Douglas.
That wasn’t the case as Carson managed 11 hits, three by Cody Azevedo, in the 13-7 setback at Tiger Field.
The teams return to action tonight at 7:30 at Ron McNutt Field in the second game of a three-game series. Carson, 9-19, will still be without the aforementioned trio, who are in Stockton trying out for the annual Area Code games.
“Azevedo did a fantastic job filling in at the leadoff spot,” Carson coach Bryan Manoukian said. “The young guys swung the bat well. They did a good job of putting the ball in play, but hit a lot of balls right at people. Douglas did a pretty good job defensively.”
The Tigers made three errors, which led to three unearned runs. Coach Bruce Jacobsen had an engagement immediately after the game and was unavailable for comment.
The problem for Carson is the same as it has been all summer — pitching. Dustin Dutcher, Joe Nelson, Joe Birri and John Holton combined for nine walks and a hit batter, and four of those runners scored.
“The pitchers aren’t making the adjustments needed,” Manoukian said. “They are not throwing strikes consistently, and we’re walking too many hitters.”
Carson pushed across single runs in the first and second innings thanks to a two-out error and a run-scoring single by Nelson.
Douglas roared back with six runs in the second, three coming on a towering homer to left by Kyle Johnson. Cale Kynett, Parker Dixon and Dustin Plante had the other run-scoring hits.
Carson bounced back with two runs in the third to make it 6-4.
Azevedo singled, moved to second on wild pitch and scored on a single to center by T.J. Thomsen. Dutcher was hit by a pitch, and Holton reached on an error to load the bases. Douglas’ Cole Peck, who worked the first five innings, walked Kyle Krebs to force in a run. The Blue Jays lost an opportunity for a big inning when Chazz Nystrom lined to short and Nelson struck out to end the inning.
Nelson relieved Dutcher to start the third, and he allowed the first five batters he faced to reach base — three on hits and two on walks. Dixon and Dillon Lopez delivered run-scoring hits to make it 8-4. Nelson avoided further damage by retiring Dalton Grissell, Plante and Michael Mejia.
The Tigers put it away with four more runs in the fourth for a 12-4 advantage.
Nelson walked Logan Fencl, and was relieved by Birri, who normally catches. Birri struck out the first batter he faced, but then surrendered two walks, hit a batter, yielded a two-run double to Lopez and another runner reached on an error. Holton came on to get the last two outs.
Carson scored twice in the fifth to cut the lead to 12-6. Krebs hit into a double play with the bases loaded to score one run and Nystrom singled in the other. Carson scored again in the sixth to make it 12-7 on an RBI double by Norton.
Douglas closed out the scoring in the sixth with an unearned run off Thomsen.