LAS CRUCES – The Las Cruces Bulldawgs helped their chances in district with a win over Centennial in the final game of their three-game series.
The Bulldawgs defeated the Hawks 2-1 at the Field of Dreams Complex Friday night in the final inning. With the win, Las Cruces improves to 10-5 in the District 3-5A standings, and Centennial drops to 11-4.
Centennial won the first game of the double header 3-2.
The Hawks put a run on the board in the bottom first inning off a wild pitch, but both teams didn’t see another run until the seventh. The Friday night game consisted of a pitcher’s duel between starters Steve Solorzano for Las Cruces and Aaron Gutierrez for Centennial.
Solorzano recorded 14 strikeouts and only gave up one run and two hits in a complete game. Gutierrez also went all seven innings and recorded seven strikeouts, along with a no-hit bid that lasted 6 1/3 innings.
“I pitched well,” Solorzano said. “I’m glad we didn’t give up. We pushed through until the end.”
Gutierrez’s no-hitter was broken up by Zakye Hawkins’ double in the top of the seventh inning to start the Bulldawgs’ rally. Hawkins then scored on hit into center field to tie the game at 1-1. Las Cruces then had bases loaded when Connor Ratje smoked a ground ball between the right side of the infield to give the Bulldawgs a 2-1 lead.
Solorzano retired the last three hitters in the bottom of the seventh to split the series.
“We’re glad we got the split today,” Las Cruces coach Gil Padilla said. “We would have been happier with a sweep, but well take this last win. These were two one-run ball games we just played.”
Padilla’s constantly mentions to his team that they’re Bulldawgs and they never show quit in any game.
“One of the things about Bulldawgs is that we fight to the end,” Padilla said. “That (game) was a great example of that.”
Las Cruces will face rival Mayfield on Tuesday for their final series of the regular season.
Centennial will close their regular season at Gadsden starting Tuesday.