Los Angeles Preps: Matt Gruskin

Eastern, N.J., quiets Malibu bats

April, 12, 2012

MALIBU -- It took a team from Voorhees, N.J., and a junior pitcher from the East Coast to silence the booming Malibu bats.

Eastern from New Jersey shut out Malibu, 4-0, behind a four-hitter from Connor Travis, who was making his first varsity start.

Malibu came into the game hitting .382 as a team and averaging 8.4 runs per game. The four hits were a season low for Malibu. Eastern is the first team to shut out Malibu this season.

Malibu starter Matt Gruskin matched Travis through the first three innings. Neither team scored until the top of the fourth.

Eastern took a 2-0 lead on a errant throw into left field on a stolen base attempt and a sacrifice fly. Gruskin was the hard-luck loser, giving up two runs on only three hits in six innings.

“It was typical high school game when you got two good guys going,” Malibu coach Ari Jacobs said. “There are going to be low-scoring games. We break down games into three tiers: offense, defense and pitching. Our defense and pitching did a pretty good job today. It was 2-0 in the sixth inning and [Gruskin] put us in a chance to win the game. Offense, our timing was off just a bit today. Baseball’s a precision thing and you can see it took a toll on us a little bit.”

Eastern scored two more runs in the top of the seventh inning. Steve Priolo hit a solo home run to lead off the inning. Tylor Love followed with a walk and came around to score an insurance run.

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