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Vipers open series against S.A. Clark

By MIKE FORMAN
May 5, 2010 at 12:05 a.m.


Memorial Vipers vs. San Antonio Clark CougarsBest-of-three Bi-District Playoffs

Game 1: Thursday, 7:30 p.m., Riverside Stadium

Game 2: Saturday, 2 p.m., San Antonio Northside Field #2

Game 3, if necessary: 30 minutes after Game 2

Memorial baseball coach Manuel Alvarado is not going to mess with what works.

Junior Jordan Pacheco will be on the mound when the Vipers open their best-of-three game Class 5A bi-district series against San Antonio Clark on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at Riverside Stadium.

Pacheco has won all eight of his starts at Riverside Stadium this season, yielding a total of nine runs in the process.

"It's nice having the home crowd behind you," Pacheco said. "Just having the home support is always a good thing to have. It's good to have fans there to cheer for you when you do something."

The Vipers (18-12-1) have supported Pacheco with 34 runs at Riverside Stadium en route to finishing second in District 27-5A.

Memorial looks to continue the trend against the Cougars (16-12), who finished third in District 28-5A.

Alvarado is unsure whether Clark will go with ace Vincent Salazar in the series opener or save him for Game 2 in San Antonio on Saturday.

Salazar and No. 3 starter Ryan Skowronsky are both left-handers so the Vipers are certain to see a lot of left-handed pitching.

"It's a little more difficult," said second baseman Jeremy Urbano. "They hide the ball more. We've been practicing and coach has thrown us left-handed pitches from a machine."

"You don't see very many left-handed pitchers in district so it's always something that's different," Pacheco said. "You may struggle a little bit, but you'll get past it."

Memorial has a 9-2 record with Pacheco on the mound and has gone 9-10 with its other starters. But Alvarado didn't hesitate to play a series instead of trying to play a single game.

"We thought about going two-out-of-three right off the bat," Alvarado said. "There was no hesitation in that. I think we match up pretty well against Clark."

Braden Mattson (.397) is the lone Clark starter hitting over .300, but starters Salazar, Skowronsky and Chris Werland each have ERAs under 3.00.

"You have to make sure and respect your opponent," Alvarado said. "Everybody is on an even playing field. We've got to try and play error-free. You can't afford to make mistakes."

Pacheco is no stranger to the playoffs. He pitched in the postseason as a freshman and sophomore.

"I know it's the playoffs and it's a real big deal and everything but I just try and hit my spots," Pacheco said. "I just try and keep it down because I know there's a lot better hitters this time.

"I've been in this situation before. You just try and go out there and pitch your game and keep the team in the game."

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