Rio Hondo Rallies Past 1st Place Baseball, 12-11

Sophomore Lancers shortstop Alex Briggs collected five hits in Tuesday's loss at Rio Hondo College.
Sophomore Lancers shortstop Alex Briggs collected five hits in Tuesday's loss at Rio Hondo College.

The Pasadena City College baseball team entered "The Jungle," the nickname for Rio Hondo College's baseball field, Tuesday afternoon. It was a rude welcome for the Lancers, who blew leads of 6-2, 8-6, and 11-8, as the Roadrunners walked off with a 12-11 win. Rio Hondo won it on a dramatic 3-run homer with two outs in the ninth by pinch hitter Steve Genera. 

Despite the loss, the Lancers (16-10, 8-6 in SCC) remain in first place in the South Coast Conference North Division by a half game over both Rio Hondo and Chaffey (each 8-7 in SCC play). East Los Angeles is also in the division hunt at 7-8.

BREAKING NEWS--In today's released CCCBCA SoCal Top 20 poll, the Lancers are ranked No. 14.

Tied 8-8 in the eighth, PCC regained the lead on a Rio Hondo error followed by a 2-RBI single by catcher Jessie Garcia. Leading 11-9 in the top of the ninth, the Lancers failed to add insurance despite loading the bases with no outs. Roadrunners reliever and winning pitcher Edmundo Hernandez struck out a batter and then produced a 4-6-3 double play to end the threat. In the first inning, PCC also loaded the bases with no outs and got nothing to show for it as the Lancers hit into a double play from third to home, loaded the bases again on centerfielder John Bicos' single but a fly out left the runners stranded. 

Overall, just one game after reaching a season high in hits (17) in a win over Los Angeles Harbor, the Lancers achieved a new high at 18 hits. The offensive explosion was led by shortstop Alex Briggs, who batted 5-for-6 with a double and three RBI. Garcia went 3-for-4 as did second baseman Andres Kim, who added two RBI. Rightfielder Shane Ogata was 2-for-5 with a triple and first baseman Jeremy Conant drew three walks as part of his 1-for-3. Designated hitter Anthony Fickewirth hit 2-for-5. 

PCC starting pitcher Jesse Hanckel (no decision) hurled five innings, allowing five hits, four walks, and two earned runs while striking out four. 

The letterman Conant is fourth in the state in batting at .455 and his .525 on-base percentage is fifth in California in that category. Kim, a sophomore transfer, is on a .619 hitting tear as he is 13-for-21 in the past five games with three doubles, a home run and 10 RBI. 

The Lancers continue their 3-game series v. Rio Hondo on Thursday, April 6 in a 2:30 p.m. start at Brookside Park's Jackie Robinson Memorial Field.