CELINA — If you think you’ve heard this before, you have.
Another Grand Lake pitcher pounded the strike zone with his fastball and the Lima Locos weren’t able to do much with him.
For the second night in a row, Grand Lake received another solid pitching performance en route to a 5-2 win over the Locos Friday at Montgomery Field.
On this night it was right-hander Brennan Pearson (Western Kentucky), who used a heavy diet of fastballs, moving them around the strike zone to keep the Locos off balance. He went 6 1/3 innings and gave up two runs, both earned, on four hits. He struck out two and walked three. Pearson threw 71 pitches, 45 for strikes.
“I wanted to fill up the zone, whether they hit it or not,” Pearson said. “I had confidence with the defense behind me. … I stuck with the fastball early. They had a lot early-count swings and that made it a lot easier on me and a lot more economical with the pitch count.”
Pearson mixed his two-seam fastball with his four-seam fastball.
“I had a little more run on my fastball tonight and that made it a little easier,” he said.
Grand Lake (3-4) swept the Locos in the two-game series. The Locos are 3-4.
Pearson threw first-pitch strikes to 18 of the 24 batters he faced.
“Brennan was great tonight. He was able to locate his fastball,” Grand Lake coach Cody Castle said. “He went out there and showed if you can command a fastball you can have a lot of success.”
Grand Lake scored an unearned run in the first, then added four in the fourth to take a 5-0 lead.
Locos starter Aron McRee (Montevallo) started strong with three good innings, but seemed to tire in the fourth.
“He was more of a reliever this spring and he gave us a great relief outing earlier this year and he definitely earned the start,” Locos coach Chad Ehrnsberger said. “He was pitching well today, but it’s one of those things where we’re going to work his pitch count up. I think he can be a great starter the rest of the summer.”
When McRee walked Matt Paculan with the bases loaded, it went to 2-0 and he was done for the night.
Angel Diaz came on and walked John Brodner with the bases loaded to make it 3-0. Jason Defevers’ RBI single made it 4-0. Tyler Gray’s sacrifice fly gave the Mariners a 5-0 lead in the fourth.
Diaz ended up tossing 3 2/3 shutout, three-hit innings, but the damage was done.
McRee was charged with five runs, four earned, on four hits in 3 1/3 innings.
The Locos got within 5-1 in the fifth when Alex Liquori launched a solo home run to right-center field. Liquori’s sacrifice fly to left made it 5-2 in the seventh.
Jose Cruz went 2 for 4 for the Locos.
Grand Lake’s trio of Pearson, Luke Mamer and Gerardo Dudamel combined to hold the Locos to five hits over the course of the speedy one hour and 58-minute game. Dudamel pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for the save.
Overall, Ehrnsberger felt his team had a better approach at the plate than in Thursday’s 5-1 loss to Grand Lake.
“He (Pearson) pitched well and I was actually happy with our hitters,” Ehrnsberger said. “I thought we put together some good AB’s (at-bats).
“Their approach was definitely better. We were swinging early in the count, but I’m OK with that. Their pitcher was attacking the zone early in the count. As hitters, that’s what you do. You attack the first good pitch you have to hit. We did that, we just hit a lot of balls right at guys.”