Desert Oasis coach Paul Buboltz expected a strong performance from starting pitcher Tyler Burdett on Wednesday.
He didn’t expect a shutout.
Burdett dominated from start to finish, as he struck out 10 and threw a five-hitter in a 4-0 victory over Centennial in the American Legion state tournament Wednesday at UNLV’s Wilson Stadium.
The fifth-seeded Bulldogs were eliminated with the loss, while the No. 4 Aces advanced to play Liberty at 8 p.m. Thursday.
Buboltz said shutouts are hard to come by at this point in a long season. Even so, he had a good feeling about Burdett’s start.
“Tyler really stepped it up tonight,” Buboltz said. “He was ready. He took the ball and finished it off.”
Burdett, who was spotted to a 1-0 lead when Jordyn Compehos drove in a third-inning run on a fielder’s choice, said he surprised even himself.
“I wasn’t thinking shutout until the last pitch,” he said. “That’s when I realized I could do it.”
While Burdett was in cruise control, Centennial starter Zachary Dixon appeared nearly as strong.
“When it was a 1-0 game in the sixth, I was thinking that we missed some opportunities to score,” Buboltz said. “We were flirting with danger there.”
But Cole Crosby led off the seventh with a triple, later scoring on a wild pitch to give Desert Oasis an insurance run, and the Aces chased Dixon with two runs on four hits in the eighth.
“It was definitely a plus to get those runs,” Buboltz said. “It helped us feel a sense of comfort there.”
Burdett never needed the extra runs, as he struck the side out in order in the ninth to seal the victory.
“I love pitching with my back against the wall,” said Burdett, who threw 110 pitches. “I like to step up in a situation where we need a win.”
Robert Lee went 3-for-4 with a double to lead the Aces’ offense, and teammates Crosby, Matt Almaguer and Bryson Stott each added two hits.
Porter Rosenkrantz went 2-for-4 to lead Centennial.
Ryan McHale went 3-for-5 with a double and three RBIs to help lift Cimarron-Memorial to an eight-inning 13-3 victory over Reno in the late elimination game.
Jayson Hicks was 2-for-4 with a home run to help Cimarron, which scored five runs in the first inning to take control.
The Spartans will play second-seeded Bishop Gorman at 5 p.m. Thursday.