Starting Up: Thunderbirds face Westerners in scrimmage

Starting Up: Thunderbirds face Westerners in scrimmage
EDUARDO MIRANDA/NEWS-SUN New Mexico Junior College pitcher Jairo Vasquez started on the mound for the Thunderbirds in their scrimmage against Western Texas College at Ray Birmingham field Monday afternoon.

The Ray Birmingham Thunderbird baseball field hosted a double-header seven-inning scrimmage between the Thunderbirds and Western Texas College.

In front of small group of spectators, fans and student athletes Monday afternoon, the Thunderbirds prepare to participate at the Albuquerque Tournament and a new season.

The home team won the first game 12-6, with the Thunderbirds hitting four home runs. The first inning, NMJC started Jairo Vasquez on the mound and went three and out with a strikeout.

He pitched two innings giving up a hit and struck out three. The Thunderbirds' offense gave their pitcher some breathing room when third baseman Christopher Martinez hit a solo home run in the second inning.

The Westerners tied the game in third with a RBI single off Bobby Cliche, who went two innings giving up two runs off two hits with three walks to no strikeouts. NMJC responded by scoring five runs in the bottom of the third. Ollie Thompson opened the inning with a single and than scored off a wild pitch. Zac Vooletich hit a 3-run single with the bases loaded. Angel DeLaCruz followed and hit a RBI double to score Vooletich and end the third inning.

The Thunderbirds led 6-1 going into the fourth, and the Westerners scored a run in the top of the inning. Cliche walked the first two batters and the Westerns advanced and scored off sacrifice hits. NMJC lead was cut to 6-2, and again the Thunderbirds responded with two runs. Daelan Caraway opened the inning hitting a single and then stole second and third. He scored off a wild pitch by the Western Texas College pitcher. Thompson hit a RBI single to drive in the final run of the inning, and pushing the lead to 8-2.

The Westerners had a big fifth inning scoring four runs and cutting the Thunderbird lead to 8-6. Pablo Suarez was on the mound were he loaded the bases after giving up a single and walking the following two batters. With the bases loaded he gave up a 3-run double, and then a RBI single that ended the inning. The Thunderbirds again responded and extended their lead to 10-6 off a 2-run homer.

The Westerners did not score in the sixth or seventh innings. In the sixth they left a runner stranded on third and in the seventh facing NMJC pitcher Tyrin Pacheco had the bases loaded with an out, they hit into a double play. The Thunderbirds did not score in the sixth leaving a runner on second. In the seventh the team added two more runs, a 2-run homer from Thompson over the right field wall to secure a 12-6 win.

The Thunderbirds will head to Albuquerque for the Albuquerque Scout tournament starting Friday going until Sunday. The team will return home Tuesday Sept. 17 to face Howard College at 1:30 p.m.