Clutch pitching, defense, and timely hitting helped the Pasadena City College baseball team win its home finale, a 5-4 triumph over East Los Angeles that lasted 11 innings in four hours, seven minutes of play on Thursday. The Lancers close out the 2016 season tonight in a 6 p.m. South Coast Conference game at ELAC.
Pasadena (13-22 overall, 7-13) won it the second extra frame as second baseman Paul Christian lifted a triple to right field. With one out, leftfielder Brandon Benson elevated a sacrifice fly to right and Christian slid in for the game-winning run.
PCC took an early 2-0 lead on a first-inning, 2-run homer to right by designated hitter Jeremy Conant. ELAC (16-19, 11-9) scored three runs in the eighth to take a 4-3 lead. In the bottom of the eighth, catcher Justin Cage ripped a RBI double to deep center that tied it.
In the ninth after a strikeout, PCC closer Anthony Mizrahi walked the bases loaded. Benson then flashed his strong right arm as the sophomore caught a fly ball in medium left field hit by Nathan Luna and fired a one-hop throw to Cage at the plate that gunned down Kelvin Brito at the plate. The 7-2 double play kept the game tied.
The Lancers almost won it in the 10th as they put runners on first and second. With no outs, Conant delivered his third hit of the game, a single to right but pinch runner Khari Vaughn was thrown out at home on the relay throw by first baseman Travis McFarland. The Huskies got out of the jam to send it to the 11th.
PCC's pitchers used a bend but don't break approach as ELAC stranded 16 runners on base overall. Lancers starter Chris Brown allowed just four hits, walked three, struck out three and allowed only one run over six innings. Mizrahi hurled two shutout innings and subsequent relievers Sergio Valenzuela and Jose Martinez (winning pitcher) each posted a scoreless inning of work.
Conant raised his conference-leading overall hit total to 59, tied for seventh in the state. That's the most hits by a Lancer in a decade as Raul Barron collected 59 in 2006. The freshman lefthanded slugger (.376 average, four home runs, 25 RBI) has a chance to become the first PCC player to reach 60 hits in a season since Kenny Okamuro had 63 in 1999.