April 28, 2002 11:00 pm

La Grande kept itself in the Greater Oregon League baseball playoff hunt with a pair of victories Saturday over Burns.

Aggressive base running triggered both wins, a 15-4 five-inning game and a 10-7 victory in the nightcap at Optimist Field.

"We scored some runs with some aggressive base running," La Grande coach Dennis Young said. "We forced them into some mistakes and just took advantage of that."

Burns had seven errors in the first game — one more than La Grande had in the second game — and the Tigers stole eight bases.

Aaron Thomas pitched a four-hitter for La Grande (10-8 overall, 4-4 league) and stole three of those bases.

La Grande had a 6-0 lead after the first inning.

"The defense kind of let them down a little bit," Young said. "We had four stolen bases in the first inning, plus (Burns had) three errors."

La Grande's defense let down in the second game. Two of those six errors came in the sixth inning, when Burns rallied from a 10-3 deficit with three runs off pitcher Adam Kleck.

"We stuck with Adam. The kids held it together and we got through the inning. We were able to stop them from scoring any more," Young said.

Jason Smith had three hits and three RBIs in the second game, and Kleck added two hits and two RBIs. Thomas had two hits, an RBI and two more stolen bases.

The Tigers sit fourth in the league standings, a game behind Baker (4-2 league). The Bulldogs' doubleheader against Grant Union (6-0) was postponed from Saturday to today because of inclement weather.

La Grande plays a non-league doubleheader Tuesday at home against DeSales of Walla Walla, then returns to GOL action Saturday with two games in Vale (1-7).

Young thinks his team can finish the league season 10-4.

"If we win out, we've done everything we can do," Young said.

Burns 004 00 — 4 4 7

La Grande 612 6x - 15 7 2

Withee, Lemos (4) and Taft; Thomas and Moore. WP — Thomas. LP — Withee.

La Grande hits — Thomas, Glasser, Kleck, Royal, Periman, George, Moore. 2B — Kleck. RBI — Smith, Glasser 2, Royal, Periman 2, Moore. SB — Thomas 3, Smith, Glasser, Kleck, George 2.

Burns 020 014 0 — 7 12 3

La Grande 413 110 x — 10 9 6

Wensenk and Taft; Kleck and Moore. WP — Kleck. LP — Wensenk.

La Grande hits — Thomas 2, Smith 3, Mellinger, Kleck 2, Searles. 2B — Thomas. 3B — Kleck. RBI — Thomas, Smith 3, Kleck 3, Searles, Royal. SB — Thomas 2, Smith, Glasser 2, Mellinger, Searles.

— From Observer staff reports