MISSION — Eddie Garza doubled in the winning run with a shot to left field as Rio Grande City pulled out a 4-3 regional quarterfinal victory over Sharyland Pioneer in nine innings Thursday night at Pioneer Ball Park.
A.B. Garza scored from second base while teammate Marc Perez was thrown out at the plate while trying to score from first on the wild play. The Rattlers own a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.
Pioneer (12-1) was unable to mount a threat during the bottom of the ninth as RGC handed the Diamondbacks their first home loss this season.
The Rattlers will play host to the Diamondbacks in Game 2 at 7 tonight in Rio Grande City. Right-hander Mike Ramos will pitch for RGC, while right-hander Evan Maldonado will “more than likely” take the hill for the Diamondbacks, Pioneer coach Casey Smith said.
Game 3, if necessary, will be at 3 p.m. Saturday at Mission High School. RGC is now 24-10-1, while the D-backs are 31-8.
Perez batted 2 for 4 with two runs scored. He started the game at shortstop, but relieved starter Baldo Perez after the starter reached 110 pitches during the seventh inning. Perez earned the win by going 1 1/3 innings with four strikeouts and no hits or runs allowed.
Baldo Perez did not surrender a hit until the fifth inning when the Diamondbacks’ Oscar Serna broke the drought.
“(The key was) pitching and defense all night long,” RGC coach Rock Cortinas said. “We made a clutch hit in the end.”
Trailing 3-1 during the sixth inning, Pioneer got untracked when Johnny Lugo drove home Maldonado with a double. Lugo came home on Rey Hernandez’s drive to right field two batters later, tying the game at 3.
RGC broke open a 1-1 game in the fifth inning. With Marc Perez at second base, Garza (2 for 5, 2 RBI, run scored) belted a pitch right centerfield, scoring Marc Perez for a 2-1 lead. Three batters later, Manny Saenz drove in Garza with a blooper to right field for a 3-1 advantage.
Pioneer jumped ahead 1-0 in the first inning without getting a hit. Pedro Tovias was hit by a pitch and moved to second base after Maldonado drew a walk. A couple of pitches got away, allowing Tovias to take third and then home for the game’s initial run.
Undaunted, the Rattlers’ Manny Garza (3 for 5, 1 RBI) brought in Perez two innings later on an infield single.
Rattlers’ starter Baldo Perez went 6 2/3 innings and allowed five hits and three runs while fanning seven and walking one.
Jake Rosales, the Diamondbacks’ starter, went 8 1/3 innings before moving to second base (Lugo took over on the mound). Rosales struck out 10 and walked none while allowing seven hits and three runs.
Lugo was 1 for 4 with an RBI double. Hernandez went 1 for 4 with an RBI.
The Rattlers and Pioneer split two regular season games in late April. Each team won in its home park.