Jared Wiley’s offensive adventures Tuesday night began with an unsuccessful attempt to bunt his way on base and ended with a flailing swing for strike three against puzzling Waco pitcher Juan Rodriguez.
But between the two forgettable at-bats, Temple’s sophomore righty turned on a slow, looping curveball and sent it soaring over the left-center field wall for a solo home run. The towering shot was all the more important on an otherwise quiet night at the plate for the Wildcats, who outlasted the surging Lions for a 2-1 District 18-5A win at Hallford Field.
“(Rodriguez was) the one that pitched against us last time, and all week the coaches were telling us to sit back,” Wiley said of Waco’s right-hander who was tagged for a tough-luck 3-1 loss against Temple on March 24. “His placement was really good all night. He was working the outside and kept us on our heels all night. We ended up getting a hold of a few tonight and barely pulled away with the win. It got scary there for a minute.”
That’s because Waco started the seventh inning with Ruben Torres’ single off Temple starter Eli Mendoza, who then beaned Dylan Flores to give the Lions runners on first and second with no outs.
Mendoza bounced back with two straight strikeouts — his seventh and eighth of the night — before walking Chris Garcia to load the bases and surrendering Robert Villa’s RBI single to left that cut Temple’s two-run advantage in half.