Zephyrhills Free Press

Down to the Wire

Bulldogs comeback bid falls short in 8-6 loss to Wiregrass Ranch

Down to the wire

Wiregrass Ranch scored a pair of runs in the top of the seventh to come away with an 8-6 win over Zephyrhills Thursday night at John Clements Field.

The Bulls and Bulldogs played to scoreless tie through nearly five innings when the Bulls jumped up at a 2-0 lead in the fifth and added four more in the sixth for a 6-0 advantage. Zephyrhills rallied to tie the game at 6-6 in the bottom of the sixth.

The Bulldogs’ comeback bid came to a disappointing end with two runners on in the bottom of the seventh, but couldn’t get them to score. The Bulldogs fall to 3-7 on the season and the Bulls improve to 4-5.

Sophomore pitcher Mark Santiago was cruising through the Bulls lineup registering 10 strikeouts and giving up just one walk, but his night came to an end in the fifth when his pitch count reached 95 and allowing just one run.

Head coach Rusty Guynn went to relievers Bryan Santiago, Caden Negron and Jaxson Rivera to close out the game, but walks and defensive lapses allowed the Bulls to take a lead and eventually pick up the victory.

“We are at a point where we are handling them and the next guy up walks four out of five batters,” Guynn said. “The next thing we know it’s 6-0.”

The late game collapses in pitching and defense have become part of the Bulldogs recent history, but this game saw the Bulldogs battle back from a 6-0 deficit only to fall short.

“The problem is they have to learn to finish stuff,” said Coach Rusty Guynn. “You get back in the game and Jaxson (Rivera) has a 10-pitch inning with three fly ball outs, but then there’s error. We could have been playing for the win with a runner at third. Instead we’re down by two.

“The things they are doing wrong are the stuff we go over every day at practice. We’ll get it. We have to get to the point where we can win two games in a row.”

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