BURBANK — When the CIF Southern Section Division II playoff pairings were released Monday morning, the Burroughs High baseball players and coaches cringed at having to travel to Santa Maria to take on Righetti in a wild-card game.
However, shortly after the pairings were published, the Division II tournament was amended. The Indians were relieved to discover the new pairings had them playing at home Tuesday in the wild-card round against Tustin.
But the friendly confines alone weren't enough to lift Burroughs, as it suffered an 8-2 loss to the visiting Tillers.
"We were 10-4 here at home going into this game and it has been a pretty good place for us to play," Burroughs first-year Coach Craig Sherwood said. "There definitely a comfort level here and you always want to play at home, especially in the playoffs. It also saved us a very long bus ride.
"But this is the Division II playoffs and you're going to play a good team no matter what. There are a lot of good teams here. We knew [Tustin] was a tough team from a tough league and we knew we were in for a good game."
Both teams looked evenly matched over the course of the first two innings. However, Tustin (16-16) — the fourth-place team from the Empire League — struck for three runs in the top of the third inning.
"We just didn't play the game that we wanted to play and we just didn't execute the way that we wanted to," Sherwood said. "But that is all on me. I have to take the blame for not having them prepared like they should have been."
Burroughs, which placed fourth in the Pacific League, ends the season with a .500 record at 14-14. The Indians had to win their final regular season game against rival Burbank Thursday to secure the final automatic postseason berth from the league.
Tustin's reward for winning the wild-card game is it will travel to Temecula on Thursday to take on No. 1-seeded Great Oak in a first-round game.
The game started out as a pitcher's battle, with Tustin starter Andrew Johnson going against Burroughs' Ben Hobson. Both hurlers allowed two base runners, no hits and no runs, while Hobson struck out four and Johnson fanned three over the first two innings.
But Hobson faulted in the third, as the Tillers pushed across three runs.
Tustin added two runs in the fourth, two in the fifth and one in the sixth to take a commanding 8-0 lead. Johnson did a solid job for the first five innings, shutting out Burroughs and limiting it to three hits, only one of which was hit out of the infield.
Burroughs did get runners in scoring position in the second, fourth and fifth innings, but could not bring a run home.
"We have had the problem all season of just not coming up with the timely hits when we need them," Sherwood said. "We had the chance to score some runs early in the game, but we just weren't able to do it."
The Indians finally got on the board in the sixth. Gerardo Munoz singled, Thomas Wilson reached base on an error and Anthony Bocanegra walked to load the bases. The next batter, Anthony Robles, roped a single to left field that scored two runs.
"We just came out and played the best that we could," Robles said. "But we just couldn't get the job done."
Follow Jeff Tully on Twitter: @jefftsports.