Brian Gonzalez is refusing to give up hits this postseason.
And on Tuesday night, Archbishop McCarthy’s senior ace barely let opposing hitters even put the ball in play.
Gonzalez, a University of Miami signee and pro prospect, mystified Cardinal Gibbons’ lineup from the outset striking out 16 and recording his second consecutive no-hitter of the playoffs in a 7-0 rout of in a Region 4-5A semifinal at the Mavericks’ home field.
McCarthy (27-2), a four-time defending state champion ranked No. 3 nationally by Baseball America, will travel to play Rockledge in the regional final next Tuesday at 7 p.m.
“Come playoff time, you just have to buckle up and focus a little bit more and that’s what we did,” Gonzalez said. “My fastball was pretty live and I was getting a lot of swings and misses on my changeup. I felt really good and felt like this was one of my best starts of the season.”
The Mavericks are headed to their sixth consecutive regional largely thanks to their dominant lefty, who has been incredible over his past three starts.
Gonzalez has allowed only one hit — a double against Pompano Beach in the district semifinal — during a span of 21 scoreless innings.
Gonzalez has 44 strikeouts during that span.
Only four Gibbons batters put the ball in play Tuesday and one reached base via a base on balls.
Gonzalez recorded 11 of his first 12 outs via strikeout and delivered 50 of his first 71 pitches for strikes.
“No doubt about it “Big B’ is one of the greatest I’ve ever seen,” said Archbishop McCarthy coach Rich Bielski, who has coached several notable pitchers, including former Hialeah and current Washington Nationals star Gio Gonzalez. “He’s really been consistent his whole career and he puts us in a great position to win every time he’s out there.”
While Gonzalez dominated again, McCarthy’s bats found the mark after the first two innings against Gibbons ace Mark Nowatnick, who had struck out 18 against Palm Bay Bayside in his previous start.
After manufacturing a run in the third to take a 1-0 lead, McCarthy blew the game open with six in the sixth inning highlighted by a two-run home run by Aaron Soto that pushed the lead to 4-0 and chased Nowatnick from the game.
Gonzalez contributed in that inning with an RBI single and Mike Gigliotti drove in two runs on a single and finished with three RBI.
CG 000 000 0 – 0 0 1
AM 000 106 x – 7 11 0
WP: Brian Gonzalez (10-1). LP: Mark Nowatnick.
Region 3-8A semifinal: Douglas 3, Taravella 0: After breezing in the early going, lefthander Jesus Luzardo had to pitch out of trouble in the last two innings to preserve the shutout and the complete-game victory.
The Eagles (18-8) will face the Park Vista-Palm Beach Gardens winner in Friday’s Region 3 finals for the right to advance to the state final four.
Luzardo (5-2) held the visiting Trojans (16-11) to four hits while striking out seven batters. He walked four batters, but three of them came in the sixth inning as Taravella loaded the bases with one out, but Luzardo had a strikeout and induced a groundout to third to end the threat.
Luzardo got into trouble when Nik Sanders led off with a double in the top of the seventh. Two outs later, leadoff hitter Joseph Libio singled before the game ended on a deep fly out to right field that Matt Fierman tracked down on the warning track for the final out.
Douglas, which was held to four hits by righthander Chris Verardi, scratched out a run in the first, second and fourth innings to provide the run support. The Eagles scored on a groundout, a sacrifice fly and a Yorvis Torrealba run-scoring single.
T 000 000 0 -- 0 4 1
D 110 100 x -- 3 3 0
WP: Luzardo, LP: Verardi.
Region 4-4A semifinal: North Broward Prep 3, Chaminade-Madonna 2 (8 innings): Mack Nathanson collected the game-winning RBI when he walked on a full-count pitch with the bases loaded, scoring Kevin Thomas and eliminating the Lions in the regional semifinal at North Broward Prep.
The Eagles (19-9) will face the Gulliver Prep-Key West winner in Friday’s regional finals. The Lions end their season at 12-17.
Mike Neder, the Eagles’ third pitcher of the game, picked up the victory in relief, pitching one scoreless inning to improve to 6-1. Chaminade’s Mike Neder (1-3) picked up the loss, giving up the deciding bases on balls to force in the run.
Hernando Sierra, who went 3 for 4 at the plate, put the Eagles on the board in the bottom of the second, slamming a 3-1 changeup over the center field wall for a 1-0 lead.
The Lions answered in the fifth, scratching for a run that began with Nick Izquierdo’s infield single with one out. He advanced to third on a wild pitch and a flyout before Mike Drag brought him home on an RBI single to right to tie the game at 1-1.
Kevin Thomas put the Eagles on top 2-1 on an RBI single in the fifth, scoring Sierra (leadoff single) before Chaminade-Madonna’s cleanup hitter Juan Martinez tied the game at 2-2 with a leadoff home run in the top of the seventh.
CM 000 010 10 -- 2 5 2
NBP 010 001 01 -- 3 11 1
WP: Tannenbaum (6-1), LP: Neder (1-3). HR: Sierra, Martinez.
Region 4-3A semifinal: Westminster Christian 5, Sagemont 1: Bat barrels barely brushed pitches from Westminster Christian ace Ryan Terry as the Warriors beat Sagemont in a Region 4 3A semifinal game at Tequesta Trace Park.
The Warriors (25-4) got a two-run home run from Jake Zarrello in the second inning to pull ahead 2-0. The Lions (14-8) pulled closer on Stefan Revelo’s RBI single in the third inning to make the score 2-1. Lions ace Andres Vazquez and Terry blanked batters through the next three innings, setting the stage for the seventh inning.
Vazquez allowed four earned runs and six hits, while striking out five, in 6 2/3 innings. The Warriors face Coral Springs Christian on Friday in the Region 4-3A finals.
WMC 020 000 3 – 5 5 1
SAG 001 000 0 – 1 3 0
Region 4-8A semifinal: Flanagan 6, Miami High 4: With the game tied 4-4 in the bottom of the sixth inning, Oscar Rodriguez hit a two-run home run over the left center field wall to propel Flanagan over Miami High (16-10) in a Class 8A regional semifinal.
The Falcons, who lost to Jupiter in the regional final a season ago, will host face South Dade in a regional final Friday.
Flanagan, ranked third in this week’s MaxPreps national rankings, trailed Miami High 4-3 in the fifth until Eric Rivera, who also hit a two-run single in the first, hit a solo home run to straight away center field to tie the game at four.
Then with a man aboard in the sixth, Rodriguez fought back from a 0-2 count against Stingarees’ pitcher Andy Escano to drive a curve ball deep for the go-ahead runs to put the Falcons (24-1) in front 6-4, the same pitch he struck out on in the previous at bat.