COOLIDGE, Ariz. – The Arizona Western baseball team stayed hot on Thursday afternoon at Central Arizona College. After two straight comeback wins gave the team a spot in the Region I Finals, the Mats took the lead and never looked back in an 8-2 win to go up 1-0 in the best-of-three series. Jayden Murray picked up his 10th win this season, and the offense knocked out eight runs on 10 hits.s
Spencer Packard and Sean Roby went single-double to start the second inning, and Manny Perez hit a sacrifice fly to deep center field to put the Mats (41-19) up 1-0.
Murray (10-3) was in command on the mound for the Mats all game. He didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning, and the defense turned three double plays in his eight frames. The sophomore gave up one run on five hits while walking one and striking out two.
The Mats started the sixth inning with a bang. Daniel Lafarga singled, and Packard sliced an opposite field double that stayed fair on the left field line to score Lafarga. Roby then launched a single up the gut to score Packard for a 3-0 lead.
With two on and nobody out in the seventh, Snaider Torrealba faked a sacrifice bunt and swung. He hammered a line drive over the right-fielder’s head for a two-run triple and a 5-0 lead. He scored when Lafarga knocked a ground ball up the middle to make it 6-0.
Central (39-20) plated one in the eighth to cut the lead to 6-1 off a Chris Diehl RBI single, but the Mats answered right away in the ninth. Torrealba and Packard were both hit, and a wild pitch sent them to second and third. Roby drilled a double deep to right-center to score both and put AWC up 8-1.
The Vaqueros knocked in one run in the ninth with a sac fly by Jake Vander Wal, but the Mats were able to close the door without any further damage.
Grant Townsend (10-2) took the loss after allowing three runs on six hits in six innings. He struck out seven and walked one.
Game two of the Region I Finals will start tomorrow afternoon at 2:00 pm. The winner of the series hosts the District Finals next weekend.
Arizona Western College is one of the top community colleges in Arizona. The college boasts partnerships with all three state universities that include face-to-face classes in Yuma. AWC leads the state in enrollment growth over the past 10 years and handed out more than 2,400 certificates and degrees in 2015-16.