After two disappointing losses against SoCal No. 10-ranked El Camino College (Torrance), the No. 18-ranked Pasadena City College baseball team picked up its first South Coast Conference victory in a wild 17-8 rout over El Camino-Compton Center Tuesday at Brookside Park's Jackie Robinson Memorial Field.
The Lancers improved to 9-6 (1-2 in SCC play) under third-year head coach Pat McGee. The 17 runs are the most by a McGee team and the seventh time in the last two years PCC scored 14 or more in a game.
Ironically, Compton (11-8, 0-3) had a player by the name of Robinson (Jamiel) slug a 3-run homer in the second inning. PCC trailed 3-2 but responded with four 3-run innings in the third, fourth, sixth and seventh frames. The Lancers only were held scoreless in the fifth.
First baseman Jeremy Conant continued his hitting binge with three hits and three RBI. Conant is currently the state's leading hitter by far with a .491 average, 25 points ahead of the next highest hitter. The lefty-hitting sophomore is 27-for-58 in just 15 games.
Designated hitter Shane Ogata went 3-for-5 and ripped one of the Lancers four triples against Compton. Centerfielder John Bicos was 2-for-3 with a double, a triple and two RBI. Third baseman Jose Jimenez bombed a 2-run triple in the second inning as part of his three RBI. Catcher Jessie Garcia was 1-for-3 with three runs scored, a triple, two walks and two RBI. Second baseman Andres Kim hit two sacrifice flies and shortstop Alex Briggs scored three runs while going 1-for-3.
Starter Jesse Hanckel, the first of four PCC pitchers, picked up the victory (by pre-arrangement) with four innings, allowing four hits and striking out two.
On Mar. 4 at El Camino College, Warriors' starter Taylor Rashi struck out 11 Lancers over eight innings, allowing just four hits as PCC was beaten 9-3. Conant was 3-for-4. ECC broke open a tight 2-1 game with four runs in the seventh and three more in the eighth. The big blow was a 3-run homer by ninth batter and shortstop Darrian Sylvester in the seventh.
At Brookside in the SCC opener on Mar. 2, PCC lost a controversial 4-3 contest against El Camino. The Lancers trailed 4-1, rallying to cut it to one in the ninth. However, it appeared the Lancers were about to the game. With runners on first and third, pinch hitter Matt Shultz lined a ball that most observers said hit inside the right field line. The hit would have scored both runners but the home umpire ruled it a foul ball. Shults then hit into a fielder's choice that scored one run to cut it to 4-3. El Camino closer Jake Carr struck out Briggs for the save and final out.
Jimenez hit a RBI double in the eighth while Garcia led the team by going 2-for-3.
"It's been tough for us with some of the strange calls and rulings that have occurred against first Citrus and then El Camino," McGee said. "We just have to focus on what we can control. We did that with our bats against Compton. We need to get better on the mound, and I'm hoping a few guys will step over the coming games."
PCC caps its 2-game series against Compton on the road Thursday, Mar. 9 in a 2 p.m. game. The Lancers will host Cerritos on Saturday, Mar. 11 in a later 2 p.m. start at Brookside.