The Pasadena City College baseball team completed its halted rain-shortened game from Tuesday with an 11-1 victory, then saw state No. 15-ranked Chaffey score the go-ahead run with two outs in the ninth in a 9-8 loss in the series finale Saturday at Brookside Park's Jackie Robinson Memorial Field. PCC ended the day in a 3-way tie for first place in the South Coast Conference North Division with Chaffey and East Los Angeles, all at 6-5 in league play.
The Lancers are 14-9 overall, and despite the third game defeat, they won the series over Chaffey, two games-to-one. Chaffey is 17-9 overall.
In the halted game, Brett Wheat finished with four RBI, including his home run on Tuesday. Rightfielder Shane Ogata batted 3-for-4 with a double and second baseman Andres Kim was 2-for-3 with a double. Reliever Matthew McElligott pitched three innings, allowing two hits, one run to record the win while Sergio Valenzuela hurled three no-hit innings for the save. Jesse Hanckel had three shutout starting innings from Tuesday as the PCC staff totaled a 3-hitter.
In the regularly scheduled game, PCC fell behind 6-1, but scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth and then tied it with two runs in the fifth at 7-7. Tied 8-8 in the ninth and with two outs, Chaffey scored the go-ahead run on a double in the gap by Marcos Hernandez off losing reliever John Mendoza.
First baseman Jeremy Conant batted 3-for-5 with three RBI while second baseman Andres Kim was 3-for-5 with two RBI. Ogata went 2-for-5 as did catcher Jessie Garcia. The team matched a season high in hits with 13 (accomplished two other times). The PCC defense, which had been steady for most of the season, committed a season-high four errors, including three in Chaffey's 5-run, fourth inning. Four of the runs in that rally were unearned off PCC starter Nick Esparza (four innings, eight hits, three Ks).
Going into the finale, PCC allowed just five hits in 18 innings to the potent bats of the Panthers.
"I think we got a little too happy with the two wins, and then complaceny led to some really poor defensive mistakes in that last game," said PCC head coach Pat McGee. "We pride ourselves on making the plays behind our pitchers and we didn't do it. At the same time, we needed better pitching out of our sophomores too.
"Offensively, I can't say enough about how we hit a pretty good Chaffey pitching staff. We generated runs and we had some good swings for extra-base hits at the home games. In those first two games, the staff just did a tremendous job including Race Gardner's great outing at Chaffey. We shut them down until that last one. First place and second place are up for grabs in our division. We will find out who wants it the most."
McGee surpassed his high win total with 14, one more than all of last season and four more than his rookie year in 2015. It is the most victories by a PCC team since 2006 when the Lancers won 18 in a 44-game schedule. The Lancers have 14 games remaining on a 37-game schedule in 2017.
PCC plays a 2-game conference series next week against SCC South Division rival Los Angeles Harbor College. The opener is on Tuesday, Mar. 28 in a 2:30 p.m. start at Brookside.