For the sixth time in the last seven games, the Pasadena City College baseball team reached double figures in hits as the Lancers beat host Rio Hondo, 8-2, in the finale of their 3-game, South Coast Conference North Division series against the Roadrunners on Saturday.
The SoCal No. 14-ranked Lancers (18-10 overall, 10-6 in conference) upped their SCC North first place lead to two full games ahead of Chaffey, the state's No. 20-ranked team by the CCCSIA and No. 10 rated regionally in the CCCBCA Coaches Poll. The 18 victories under third-year head coach Pat McGee is the most by a Lancers team since 2006, but PCC accomplished its win total this year in 16 less games than the '06 squad.
Sophomore shortstop Alex Briggs finished a monster series by going 10-for-15 over the three games. In the Saturday triumph, he batted 3-for-5 to lead the team's 12-hit attack. Briggs and second baseman Andres Kim hit back-to-back RBI doubles in the fifth. Centerfielder John Bicos added a 2-run single during a 4-run Lancers frame as PCC took a 6-0 lead at that point.
The Lancers pitching received another brilliant start from freshman righty Paul McAllister (3-0 record), who hurled five shutout innings, scattering five hits with one walk and five strikeouts. Reliever Nick Esparza picked up his fifth save as he pitched the last four innings, giving up five hits, two earned runs, walking none and recording three Ks.
Kim and hot-hitting rightfielder Shane Ogata each had two hits. Like Briggs, Ogata torched Rio Hondo pitching as he batted 7-for-15 with two triples and four RBI in the series. Kim, the team's leadoff hitter, is on a torrid 8-game hitting streak where he is batting an even .500 (17-for-34) with four doubles, a home run, 11 runs scored and 13 RBI. He has driven in a run in each of his last seven games.
Sophomore first baseman Jeremy Conant had an 8-game hitting streak snapped in the finale, but drew seven walks in the three games. The lefty slugger is third in the state in batting (.458), fifth in on-base percentage (.538). He has a team-high 30 RBI, the most by a Lancer in five years.
In the last eight games, the Lancers have totaled 77 runs (nearly 10 a game) on 100 hits. The team is 6-2 in this stretch with the only two losses each coming on opponents' game-winning hits with two outs in the ninth.
The Lancers take a break from conference play this week, but will play the first of three non-conference games on Tuesday, April 11 in a 2:30 p.m. contest at Ventura College.