CHOWCHILLA -- A five-run fourth inning broke up a tight game as the Merced baseball team went on to defeat Chowchilla 8-1 on Monday afternoon.
Andrew Jaurique led Merced's 13-hit attack with three hits and Scott Eldridge pitched into the fifth inning to pick up the win.
"We had some really good at-bats and we took advantage of some opportunities," said Merced coach Lou Souza, whose team heads in Central California Conference play this week with a 5-5 record.
"We pitched better. We threw more strikes. We were able to keep our pitch count down."
Never miss a local story.
Eldridge gave up just one run on three hits in his five innings of work. He finished with five strikeouts.
Chowchilla's Kyle Kinsley matched Eldridge pitch-for-pitch early on.
Merced took advantage of three Chowchilla errors in the fourth inning to score five runs.
"(Eldridge) kept us off balance," Chowchilla coach Kirk Delmas said. "He mixed his pitches well and threw strikes. Kinsley was matching him inning for inning up until the fourth."
A bad hop on a possible doube-play grounder opened the door for Merced.
Phillip Parga, Edridge and Louie Souza all drove in runs during the inning.
"We have to play better defense," said Chowchilla coach Kirk Delmas, whose team dropped to 4-3. "We're not the offensive juggernaut that we've been in the past. We're not going to go out there and score a ton of runs. Today, we let down defensively."
Drake Burch, Parga, Chad May and Eldridge all had two hits for Mered.
Merced will open up CCC play at Los Banos on Wednesday afternoon.