Centennial’s baseball team plays its two biggest games of the season next week.
After sweeping a home-and-home series with Coronado, the No. 10 Bulldogs will have plenty of momentum.
Host Centennial pounded out 20 hits and got 4 2/3 solid innings by reliever Jake Rogers in an 18-9 victory over the ninth-ranked Cougars on Friday.
Travis Stevens went 4-for-5 with two RBIs, and Jake Portaro was 3-for-4 with a first-inning homer and four RBIs for the Bulldogs (18-9), who beat Coronado 8-4 on Thursday and have won five straight overall.
“We actually schedule these games late in the year because they’re a good club and last year at the end of the season we didn’t have any extra games to get our pitchers work,” Centennial coach Charles Cerrone said. “Getting two wins against a quality program is a good deal.”
Centennial hosts Durango in a nonleague game today, then wraps up Northwest League play next week against second-place Arbor View and league-leading Desert Oasis. The Bulldogs are in fourth place, and the top four teams advance to the Division I Sunset Region playoffs.
“We’d like to finish strong; that’s always our goal,” Cerrone said. “We’ve got a huge week coming up, and getting out of the pressure cooker for a few days and playing games is good.”
Centennial’s first four batters Friday — Jared Drizin, Zachary Dixon, Portaro and Stevens — combined to go 13-for-18 with three doubles, a home run, eight RBIs and 12 runs scored.
The Bulldogs trailed 8-4 after 1½ innings before rallying in the bottom of the fourth. Hayden Grant flared a double to right field that tied the game at 8-8, and pinch hitter Kyle Horton singled in the go-ahead run two batters later.
Centennial tacked on six runs in the fifth as Tanner Wright delivered a two-run single before Drizin’s two-run double into the left-field corner made it 15-8.
Rogers added a three-run homer in the sixth for Centennial.
“I was very happy with the at-bats we had the last couple of days,” Cerrone said. “I like where we’re at right now, and hopefully we can stay in this place.”
Nate Ruiz went 2-for-4 with five RBIs, including a three-run blast in the second inning, and Donte Glover was 3-for-5 with three runs for the Cougars (13-13). But Rogers allowed one run on four hits and struck out five after taking over for Anthony Saccente.
“(Rogers) has done a great job pitching for us all year,” Cerrone said. “He hasn’t gotten a lot of innings, but he came in today and did the job.”
Contact reporter David Schoen at email@example.com or 702-387-5203. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidSchoenLVRJ.