On Monday, the visiting Pasadena City College baseball team went up against SoCal No. 4-rated Cerritos College, a team on a 10-game win streak and boasting the state's then best record at 17-2. The unranked Lancers battled for nine innings, then used Edward Manzo's 2-RBI double in the 10th frame to snap the Falcons' string in a 6-4, South Coast Conference victory.
PCC (12-8 overall) improved to 3-2 in the SCC North Division and beat a SoCal Top 10 ranked squad for the second time in as many games. The Lancers dropped No. 9-rated Los Angeles Harbor, 10-8, in a home game on March 8.
A freshman leftfielder, Manzo started the season 2-for-15 but since Feb. 20, the Palmdale Pete Knight High product has been on a 17-for-35 tear (.486). Currently in a 10-game hitting streak, Manzo got red hot in the past week. He had a stretch of nine straight plate appearances where he batted a perfect 7-for-7 with a walk and a sacrifice fly before grounding out in the fourth inning Monday. In the 10th, Manzo, who is now 9-for-his-last-11 and batting .380 overall, came up with runners on first-and-second after hit-by-pitches to shortstop Jose Jimenez and centerfielder John Bicos. With one out, he launched a bomb off the left-field wall that plated the two lettermen for the game-winning runs.
Sophomore pitcher Race Gardner, an All-SCC First Team selection last year, retired the side in the 10th to pick up his second save. Lefty freshman Gary Acuna hurled 1.2 innings of scoreless relief for his first collegiate victory. Frosh starter Josh Aguilar pitched another team quality start as he allowed just three runs on nine hits over seven innings, walking two and striking out four.
Jimenez, the team's stalwart leadoff hitter, is taking hitting streaks to a new level. In going 8-for-his-last 13, Jimenez was 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored v. Cerritos. He has extended a season-long hit streak to 20 games and is on a streak of 27 games dating back to last year. Hitting a team-leading .389, his 35 total hits are tied for sixth in the state. In the field, Jimenez came up with the play of the game against Cerritos. In the eighth inning, the Falcons tied the game at 4-4 and were poised to continue its win streak with a runner on third and two outs. Gabriel Gonzalez placed a bunt past the pitcher's mound, but a hustling Jimenez made a dazzling pick up and throw to gun him out and maintain the tie.
"Jimenez has kind of taken the baton from our since graduated leaders from last year, Alex Briggs and Jeremy Conant," said PCC head coach Pat McGee. "I can't ask for anything more than what he's delivered for us. He's playing stellar defense and just keeps hitting with consistency. Manzo was pretty darn good in high school, but he had a bit of a rocky start for us. Now he's getting comfortable with the pitching at this level, and is just ripping the ball. We needed some of our freshmen to step up as hitters, and right now he's that guy."
In the Harbor win, frosh ace Gordon Ingebritson ran his record to 5-1 by hurling seven innings, allowing nine hits, four earned runs, no walks and striking out five. PCC led at one point 6-0, but had to hang on when Frank Gonzalez entered with a first-and-third situation to record the final out for his first save. Designated hitter Tony Shue was 2-for-4 and second baseman Ryan Lewis hit 1-for-2 with two RBI.
PCC was scheduled to play Tuesday, Mar. 13 in its second game of its 2-game series v. Cerritos pending possible rain conditions. Game time is 2:30 p.m. at Brookside Park's Jackie Robinson Field.