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Pitching Lift Lady Cougars To TVL Wins
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Pitching was key and the bats came alive in a pair of recent shutout wins for Escalon's varsity baseball girls.

The Lady Cougars were 6-0 winners at home against Livingston on Tuesday, April 27 and were 11-0 victors in a road game Thursday at Hilmar.

In the Tuesday contest, Escalon had single runs in the second and third innings, added two in the fourth and two more in the sixth. The hitters provided ample support for starting pitcher Nicky Brown, who tossed a no-hitter while striking out six. She allowed just two walks on the day.

Brown also got the scoring going, reaching on a single in the second inning and moving up on a bunt from Amanda Ainsworth. She later scored on a passed ball to put the Lady Cougars in the lead.

In the third inning, Mandy San Julian singled, Brown walked and Erica Bogar rapped out an RBI single. Fourth inning scoring saw Courtney Sperry get on base on an error, Missy Cullum doubled to drive her in. Shannon Krein reached on an error and San Julian got on with a fielders choice.

In the sixth inning, Cullum was hit by a pitch, Krein had a fielders choice, San Julian doubled home two runs for the big blow.

"Livingston had a slower pitcher and it took the girls a little while to get used to the pace," noted coach Dianne Teixeira.

But once they did, they made the most of it and rapped out nine hits.

On Thursday, it was another shutout, pitched by Brown, and her teammates supported her with 11 runs.

"The Cougar bats just came alive," said Teixeira, noting that they had 11 hits to go along with their 11 runs.

Key hits included an RBI double by Krein in the first inning, an RBI single from San Julian in the third and an RBI single from Cullum in the fifth. Eight runs came in for Escalon in the sixth inning.

"Melissa Nickas started it off with a single," Teixeira said of the big inning.

Several singles were featured in that frame and Bogar had a two-RBI triple.

"We hit around," said Teixeira. "Nicky did a great job, throwing a shutout and everyone is just hitting."

San Julian had a three-RBI performance, while Nickas went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two stolen bases.

The Lady Cougars were running on Thursday as well, taking advantage of a new catcher for Hilmar that didn't have a very strong arm to swipe six bases on the day.

"We're 17-5 overall and 7-2 in league, we still have Patterson and Hughson above us," explained Teixeira. "We'd like to go to playoffs, the girls are all fired up."

They were slated to play at Ripon Christian on Tuesday, after The Times went to press, and will be home to host Ripon on Thursday, May 6 at 4 p.m.