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Bulldogs fall to Matadors in regional finals opener

ABILENE — Though they dropped game one of the Class 3A Region I final to Lubbock Estacado, 4-0, Thursday, the good news for the Burnet High School baseball team is the Bulldogs have faced elimination before.

And responded accordingly.

Burnet senior pitcher John Melvin matched Estacado’s ace A.T. Rivera out for out until the fourth inning.

After an out, Eric Alverez walked, and Quinton Johnson hit an RBI double to left field and went to third on the throw. Nick Flores earned the RBI, 2-0.

The Bulldogs threatened in the fifth. Junior Kyler Payne led off with a single to center field. Senior Jett Freeman recorded a single to left field to put runners at first and second.

But the next batter hit into a double play to end the threat.

Burnet threatened again in the sixth. With two outs, senior Dillon Chafin hit a single to center field. Sophomore Ryan Rundzieher walked, but the next batter flew out to right field, stranding the runners.

Estacado, however, had no such difficulties as two more runs were plated in the sixth. Alverez hit a single to left field, then stole second. Johnson hit a single to left field and went to second on the throw. Alverez scored on a wild pitch and Johnson followed on a throwing error to the pitcher, 4-0.

Rivera recorded his fifth and sixth strikeouts of the game in the seventh inning, forcing the Bulldogs to strand a total of seven runners. No Bulldog got to third base.

Rivera gave up six hits and walked one, while Melvin (8-2) gave up three earned runs on six hits, two walks and had a strikeout.

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