“This was definitely a team win,” said the Bulldogs' Dylan Mersola, who hit a two-run homer in the second inning. “We had great defense and great pitching today. Our bats just came alive. We got people on [base] and hit them in.”
Hoover (4-11, 2-5 in league) did not get a hit until the fifth inning, when Burbank closer, Gavin Bushey, took the mound. The Tornadoes got three hits, two from pinch hitters, but Bushey stranded them when he struck out Thomas Alchermes to get the save.
“They're a fantastic team; they're very good,” Hoover Coach Joe Cotti said of Burbank. “Unfortunately, they got a couple home runs today. We have a very short fence. Our last one we had blew down and that's the one they gave us for this year. The old fence, those balls stay in the park. But, hey, it got out. It is what it is.
“Our kids played well, we just didn't get going until the fifth inning and, unfortunately, by then we had dug ourselves a big hole.”
Through four innings, Burbank pitcher Andrew Hernandez (4-2) struck out three and allowed only two runners on base, both on errors.
“No-hitter through four, it's one of the better games I've pitched,” the senior pitcher said. “Fast balls, just trying to throw strikes. I just try to keep the ball low and get ground balls.
“These wins [are] helping our confidence a lot, actually. We're starting to play as a team. The hitting is coming back and our pitching is doing good. We made plays and the defense had my back.”
The Bulldogs (8-7, 5-2) pounded out eight hits, including two home runs. Mersola's two-run shot to right-center put Burbank ahead, 5-0. He finished three for three with three runs scored.
In the fifth inning, pinch hitter Angel Roman whacked a grand slam to left for the final margin.
“Our pitching's been outstanding,” Bulldogs Coach Bob Hart said. “We struggle with the bat at times and then other times we look real good. So, defensively we've been pretty solid lately, kind of on a good run right now.
“We were aggressive to first-pitch fast balls, which a lot of times we're a little hesitant on. So we're trying to get our guys to be a little more aggressive.”
Burbank scored twice in the first inning on a line-drive hit by Mersola which scored Ricky Perez. Then, Mersola scored from second on Hoover pitcher's Jose Estrada's overthrow to first base.
“We just came out flat,” Cotti said. “We have talent; we have ability. It's about believing in the plan, sticking to the plan and working together and believing in each other. If they could do that and buy into that, we'll be fine.”