MONROVIA -- Cloverdale was limited to three hits by Monrovia pitcher Jeremy Gray and suffered its first West Central Conference loss of the season, 5-3, Monday on the Bulldogs' field.
Gray, a crafty left-hander, struck out 13, walked two and didn't hit a batter in an seven-inning effort. The Clovers (6-2, 2-1 WCC) were held hitless over the final four and two-thirds innings.
"We've been hitting the ball pretty well," Cloverdale coach Bryan Archer said. "You've got to give him credit. He was very good and consistent. He knew what he wanted to throw. He knew what he was doing."
Gray relied upon two curve balls, a traditional hard breaker and an off-speed version that starts high before the bottom drops out. He kept the Clovers off balance by mixing them and throwing both for strikes.
"It was a great performance," Monrovia coach Barry Neuman said. "He was strong to the end."
Gray struck out the final four batters and had seven in the last three innings.
Cloverdale starter Brian Dale was solid on the mound, allowing six hits and four earned runs. He struck out seven, walked one and hit two batters in going the six-inning distance.
"Brian did all right," Archer said. "He wasn't 100 percent. His accuracy wasn't there at times. He battled them and got ground balls and pop flies. We made some mistakes and a good hitting club like that will make you pay for it."
Luke Judson put Monrovia (1-2, 1-0 WCC) ahead 1-0 with a home run leading off the second inning.
The Clovers scored three runs, all unearned, in the third.
William Whitinger led off with a single. Cody Carter's reached on a throwing error on a ground ball, putting the Clovers on second and third.
After an out, Ethan Atwood's bunt was mishandled. Whitinger scored and Atwood was safe at first. Gray walked Dale, who had doubled in the first inning and has five home runs this season, intentionally to load the bases.
Austin Mannan drove in two runs with a sharp single to left.
"Austin is hitting well right now," Archer said. "He's been pretty consistent."
Justin Wilson sacrifice bunted the runners to second and third. Gray got out of the inning by getting Trevor Lockwood to pop out.
Monrovia scored three runs in the bottom of the third to go ahead, 4-3.
Gray reached on an error and Robbie Marley and Grant Benefiel had back-to-back infield singles. Noel Davis' long double to left-center field drove in two.
Dale struck out the next hitter, but Kent Delph's fly out to short right drove in the speedy Benefiel.
Cloverdale made an error on the next hitter, but Dale kept his composure and had a strikeout to close out the inning.
The Clovers had runners on second and third with one out in the sixth.
Wilson led off with a walk. After an out, Monrovia committed two errors on an infield ground ball by Tyler Carter.
Whitinger bunted the ball back to Gray, who fielded it cleanly and spotted Wilson in no-man's land halfway to the plate. Gray ran Wilson back towards third before flipping the ball to Gordon, who made the tag for the final out. Gray struck out the next hitter to end the inning.
"It was a base running miscue by Wilson," Archer said. "We were trying to get the bunt down the first base line and it went right back to the pitcher. Wilson took off and he should have waited."
Cloverdale 003 000 0 -- 3 3 2
Monrovia 013 001 x -- 5 6 5
Brian Dale and Austin Mannan; Jeremy Gray and Noel Davis.
WP -- Gray (7 IP, 3 hits, 13 K, 2 BB).
LP -- Dale (6 IP, 6 hits, 7 K, 1 BB).
HR: Monrovia--Luke Judson, none on in 2nd.
Doubles: Cloverdale--Dale; Monrovia--Davis, Grant Benefiel.
Singles: Cloverdale--William Whitinger, Mannan; Monrovia--Marley, Benefiel, Burgess, Gray.
RBI: Cloverdale--Mannan 2, Atwood 1; Monrovia--Davis 2, Judson 1, Delph 1, Gray 1.