By Jeremy McDonald
GRANITE BAY -- Rocklin baseball had a tough time against Granite Bay's version of the "Big Unit" Friday in a battle for Sierra Foothill League second place.
Standing at six-foot - five Darren Nelson held the Thunder to one hit while striking out five in the Grizzlies 6-0 win as Granite Bay takes a full game lead for second place over Rocklin.
“I knew it was a big game with us tied for second and I had to come in and throw strikes,” said Nelson. “My curve ball was working, my change-up wasn’t working as last time against Woodcreek. But my fast ball was good so it felt good.”
The game had all the makings of a heavyweight title bout as both teams defense held the others offense through two outs of the bottom of the fourth inning.
What changed was a Rocklin bobble at right field on a for sure out that resulted in a Jordan Vujvich RBI Triple for Granite Bay.
The next at-bat, another RBI Triple. This time by Peter Schofield to put the Grizzlies up 2-0 entering the fifth inning.
The Thunder couldn't find their groove on defense following three strong innings by sophomore Mitchell Secondo.
“We charged the ball at first and that we should probably field if we weren’t in too much of a hurry,” said Rocklin head coach Roc Murray. “But we got in too much of a hurry, trying to play the game.
“I thought the rest of the game was ok, they hit the ball pretty well and their guy pitched a great game, that’s baseball.”
They gave up four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning and Granite Bay starter Darren Nelson continued his dominance on the mound.
“We knew what we had to do, but we couldn’t get it done,” said Thunder Mike Shoenberger. “(Nelson) was pitching well, we really didn’t try our hardest and he came to play today.”
Murray points to the fact they’ve done a lot of work in the past few weeks that could’ve affected their mental state today.
“We’ve had three incredible productive weeks and we’ve also played in several extra inning games,” he said. “We’ve played two extra inning games in the Folsom series (last week), then we came back Monday and had another extra inning game.
“So three of the six games we’ve played in the last two weeks were in extra innings.”
Rocklin have two days to recover before starting a three game series with Nevada Union next week and Shoenberger points out one thing they need to improve on for that series.
“I think we need to get more aggressive and being able to execut our bunts a lot better,” he said.
First pitch is 4pm at Nevada Union in Grass Valley.