Mound Men Leading Baseball Upswing

Gordon Ingebritson is 4-0 to lead the PCC pitching staff this season, photo by Richard Quinton.
Gordon Ingebritson is 4-0 to lead the PCC pitching staff this season, photo by Richard Quinton.

The Pasadena City College baseball pitching staff helped the Lancers go 3-1 on their road trip from Feb. 17-24. PCC's pitchers have allowed only one unearned run in the last 18 innings. While during 35 innings of their road swing, they gave up just 25 hits, six earned runs, and struck out 40 batters.

The hurling (not to be confused with Olympic curling) of several first-year pitchers has lifted Pasadena to an 8-6 overall record, including two shutouts and two 1-run allowed contests. The team's 3.48 ERA is 15th in the state and seventh in the SoCal region. Never known to be a program that relies on Ks, the staff has totaled 112 strikeouts, good enough for 19th in the state and 11th in SoCal. 

On Feb. 24, winning pitcher Josh Aguilar (2-0, six hits, two walks, six Ks) and Frank Gonzalez (struck out three in the ninth) combined for a 6-0 blanking at Fullerton College. Both first baseman Jason Ajamian and third baseman Nico Martinez went 2-for-5 with two RBI. Shortstop Jose Jimenez extended his season-long, hitting streak to 14 games.

A day earlier on Feb. 23, ace Gordon Ingebritson improved to 4-0 by throwing seven innings, with no walks, four Ks and he combined with relievers Gary Acuna (one inning) and Lorenzo Llorens (save, one inning, two strikeouts) for a 6-hitter as PCC defeated host Palomar, 5-1. Ajamian, designated hitter Tony Shue, leftfielder Edward Manzo, and centerfielder John Bicos each had two hits. While the offense totaled 13 hits, Palomar's five pitchers combined to strike out 16 Lancers hitters.

Ingebritson has a 1.64 ERA and leads the staff in wins, innings (33), and strikeouts (27). On Feb. 17 at Victor Valley College, PCC's four pitchers totaled 16 Ks including a brilliant relief effort by Aguilar, who gave up two hits, one unearned run, one walk while striking out eight in a 10-5 Lancers win. Llorens threw three innings, giving up two hits, one unearned run while striking out five. Closer Nathan Garkow pitched a perfect ninth with two Ks. The Rams collected just five hits overall.

For the Lancers, Shue was a double shy of hitting for the cycle as he batted 4-for-5 with a RBI triple and a 2-run homer over the leftfield fence in the fourth inning. First baseman Daniel Netz went 2-for-3 with a triple and two RBI while Martinez and leftfielder Jared Esquivel both collected a pair of hits. 

On Feb. 20, PCC received a quality start by Garkow, who allowed five hits, two earned runs and struck out nine in six innings, but lost at Glendale, 5-1. Jimenez had two hits, including a double. Garkow (2-1 with two saves) has been impressive in seven appearances on 17.1 innings, 12 hits, just four runs (two earned), only three walks and 21 strikeouts. Aguilar has 14 Ks in 12 innings (eight hits, one unearned run) and Gonzalez struck out eight in 7.2 innings, allowing just two hits in four appearances. Both pitchers have 0.00 ERAs.

PCC head coach Pat McGee credits the work put in by pitching coach and top assistant Nico Calderaro for the team's pitching success.

"You have to have talent, and for sure we have some great arms," McGee said, "But Nico is pushing them to succeed at the collegiate level. He is asking for maximum effort and drills them to pitch with a purpose. Hitting spots and throwing with control are important parts of the puzzle. We have nearly a 3 strikeout-to-1 walk ratio and allowing only 3.2 walks per 9 innings. You consider we have used 11 different pitchers and those are impressive numbers so far."

Shue is the team's hitting leader thus far, batting .373 with two home runs, two triples and 13 RBI. Netz is batting .341 with two triples, nine RBI, and a sparkling .475 on-base percentage. 

The Lancers have rescheduled their home return to Wednesday, Feb. 28 due to wet conditions at Brookside Park's Jackie Robinson Field. PCC hosts Santa Barbara City College in a 2 p.m. first pitch.