SANTA CLARITA, Calif. - A.J. Work pitched eight innings allowing one unearned run on six hits and struck out seven in The Master's College 4-1 win over Vanguard.

"I've been waiting for a crisp outing like this all year," said Work.  "And it's nice because I haven't had a decent outing my last three or four starts.  Praise God for allowing me to do what I did."

Friday was Work's second win against Vanguard (16-22, 9-16 GSAC) this season.  The first came on Feb. 15 when Work allowed one run over seven innings.

"He was really good at throwing first pitch strikes early in the game," said Mustangs pitching coach Sam Minyard about Work's outing on Friday. "When he gets ahead of guys he is really hard to hit."

The win, Work's eighth, moved him into a tie for the Golden State Athletic Conference lead.

Spencer Downs (Kelso, WA), Ryan Shackelford (Murrieta, CA) and Sam Robison (San Juan Capistrano, CA) backed Work with two hits each. Downs drove in a run with a single in the first and another run with a double in the fifth.

Work credited the strong play of TMC's defense, singling out Robison, who made a sliding stop on a one hopper at second base to start a double play.  The double play was a part of a three pitch seventh inning.

Through the first four innings, Work pitched to the outside part of the strike zone, but Vanguard's familiarity with him forced a change in the fifth.

"Every team I face now looks away, away, away, because that's how I pitch, low and out with fastballs," Work said.  "Pitching away was working the first four innings and then I could tell they were looking away, so I started busting everyone inside."

TMC's Cody Harris (Lakewood, CA) pitched the ninth inning for his fourth save and thanks to Westmont's 7-3 victory over Concordia, the Mustangs increased their GSAC lead to three-and-a-half games.

The series continues tomorrow at 12:00 PM on Reese Field.

Box Score:

By Mason Nesbitt, TMC Sports Information Intern