BASEBALL: Quiroga's 10-K gem helps TC grab ninth straight NTJCAC win before N. Central takes finale
TOTAL CONTROL: Temple College freshman Ulises Quiroga, shown during a March 13 home game against Weatherford, pitched six innings of two-hit, shutout baseball with 10 strikeouts Saturday as the Leopards beat North Central Texas 9-0 in the first game of a doubleheader in Gainesville. Quiroga (6-0) improved his earned-run average to 0.85 and has won all six of his starts this season. First-place TC (21-5, 9-3) extended its winning streak to nine games in the Northern Texas Junior College Athletic Conference and 10 games overall before North Central posted a 9-4 victory in Saturday's second game. (File photo by Greg Wille, TempleBeltonSports.com)
GAINESVILLE – Temple College pitcher Ulises Quiroga racked up 10 strikeouts in six sharp innings and received plenty of offensive support in winning his sixth consecutive start as the Leopards extended their conference winning streak to nine games by pounding North Central Texas 9-0 in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday afternoon.
After losing the first three games of the teams' four-game series in Northern Texas Junior College Athletic Conference competition, the Lions avoided a sweep by scoring five runs in the first two innings of the finale en route to a 9-4 win over TC.
That snapped Temple's overall winning streak at 10 games. Coach Craig McMurtry's Leopards had won nine straight NTJCAC games since they began league play with two losses at Weatherford on March 10. TC (21-5) shares the NTJCAC lead with rival McLennan at 9-3, two games ahead of third-place Weatherford.
In Saturday's seven-inning opening game, Temple jumped on North Central Texas starter David Johnson (3-3) for two runs in the first inning and three in the second to build a commanding 5-0 lead.
That was more than enough offensive production for Quiroga (6-0), the second-year freshman right-hander from Baytown who lowered his earned-run average to 0.85. He allowed two singles in six innings, striking out 10 batters and walking four before second-year freshman righty Jackson Sioson permitted one single in the seventh to finish the shutout.
Quiroga has earned the victory in all six of his starts this year. In 31 2/3 innings, he's allowed 16 hits and three earned runs while striking out 54 and issuing 11 walks. Quiroga tallied 10-plus strikeouts for the third time this season and has struck out 22 in 12 innings in his last two outings, allowing five hits.
Raul Aragon, Clark Henry and Seth Stephenson recorded three hits apiece to pace a 13-hit attack for Temple, which tacked on three runs in the fifth inning and one in the seventh as Johnson pitched a complete game.
Henry, Dylan Blomquist (Belton) and Travis Chestnut drove in two runs each, and Sammy Diaz, Andre Jackson and Joseph Redfield added one RBI apiece. Blomquist, Chestnut, Henry (two runs) and Tennessee signee Stephenson (two runs, two stolen bases) had one double each.
However, it was a much different story in the doubleheader's second game and the series finale as the Lions (12-12, 2-6 NTJCAC) finally cooled off the torrid Leopards.
With second-year freshman Jack Brinley still sidelined by an arm injury, Temple tried to navigate the nine-inning game using several pitchers. But freshman lefty starter Clay Bradford (0-1) allowed three hits, two walks and five runs (four earned) in one-plus innings while facing just nine batters.
After Andruw Gonzales got TC on the board with a sacrifice fly to cut the Leopards' deficit to 2-1 in the second, Bradford ran into trouble during the North Central second and was relieved by Sioson, who proceeded to permit only one hit while pitching three scoreless innings. The Lions scored three runs in the second – all charged to Bradford – to seize a 5-1 advantage.
North Central starter Dawson Beard (4-1) allowed four hits and an unearned run in 5 1/3 innings, exiting with a 7-1 lead after the Lions scored two runs against lefty Diego Fernandez in the fifth.
Gonzales gave Temple a spark in the eighth when the second-year freshman catcher and McNeese State signee blasted a three-run home run off Christian Huey to pull the Leopards to within 7-4.
TC couldn't get any closer, though. North Central scored twice in the eighth against Davis Pratt to make it 9-4 before Angelo Cabral pitched a perfect ninth to wrap up the Lions' only victory of the week and snap the Leopards' conference winning streak at nine.
Gonzales drove in all four TC runs, and Blomquist walked three times and scored twice.
North Central's offense got big performances from Rance Rosas (3-for-5, two RBI, two runs), Chase Cromer (2-for-3, two RBI, run) and Nixon Brannan (2-for-4, two doubles, two RBI, two runs).
Temple's open date in the 32-game conference schedule is this upcoming week. The Leopards will host Blinn in a nine-inning game at 3 p.m. Monday at Danny Scott Sports Complex, then play the St. Edward's junior varsity at 2 p.m. Tuesday in Austin before hosting Galveston at 2 p.m. Wednesday.
TC will return to NTJCAC play April 7 with a doubleheader at Cisco, then the Leopards will host the Wranglers in a noon doubleheader on Saturday, April 10.
Northern Texas Junior College
Temple College 9,
North Central Texas 0
Temple 230 030 1 – 9 13 0
N. Central 000 000 0 – 0 3 2
TC: Ulises Quiroga, Jackson Sioson (7) and Sammy Diaz. NCTC: David Johnson and Nixon Brannan. W – Quiroga (6-0). L – Johnson (3-3). 2B – TC: Travis Chestnut, Seth Stephenson, Clark Henry, Dylan Blomquist.
Highlights – TC: Quiroga 10 strikeouts, two singles allowed in six innings (54 strikeouts in 31 2/3 innings pitched this season); Henry 3-for-3, two runs batted in, two runs; Stephenson 3-for-4, two runs, two stolen bases; Raul Aragon 3-for-4, run; Chestnut two RBI, run; Blomquist two RBI; Diaz, Andre Jackson, Joseph Redfield one RBI each.
North Central Texas 9,
Temple College 4
Temple 010 000 030 – 4 4 1
N. Central 230 020 02X – 9 11 0
TC: Clay Bradford, Jackson Sioson (2), Diego Fernandez (5), Davis Pratt (7) and Andruw Gonzales. NCTC: Dawson Beard, Skyler Yarborough (6), Ulsis Tovar (7), Joe Amador (7), Julian Garcia (8), Christian Huey (8), Angelo Cabral (9) and Zane Bandfield. W – Beard (4-1). L – Bradford (0-1). HR – TC: Gonzales (1). 2B – TC: Clark Henry; NCTC: Nixon Brannan 2, Chase Cromer.
Highlights – TC: Gonzales three-run home run, sacrifice fly, four RBI; Blomquist three walks, two runs; Sioson three scoreless innings; NCTC: Beard no earned runs allowed in 5 1/3 innings; Rance Rosas 3-for-5, two RBI, two runs; Cromer 2-for-3, two RBI, run; Brannan 2-for-4, two RBI, two runs; Cooper Huspen two runs.
Records – Temple 21-5 overall, 9-3 in NTJCAC; North Central Texas 12-12, 2-6.
Notes – Temple extends NTJCAC winning streak to nine games and overall winning streak to 10 games before loss in Game 2 of doubleheader in Gainesville; Temple shares conference lead with McLennan at 9-3; TC hosts Blinn in nine-inning game at 3 p.m. Monday at Danny Scott Sports Complex.