Cold Spell For Baseball

Nico Martinez at the plate during the team's March 26 loss, photo by Richard Quinton.
Nico Martinez at the plate during the team's March 26 loss, photo by Richard Quinton.

When the Pasadena City College baseball team made its magical run to the 2017 South Coast Conference North Division title, the Lancers never had longer than a 2-game losing streak. On Wednesday, PCC suffered its fourth straight loss, an 8-5 setback against Citrus at Brookside Park's Jackie Robinson Field.

Pasadena dropped to 14-13, falling below .500 in home games at 6-7. The team's non-conference portion of its schedule ends with the Lancers going .500 at 10-10, but also against a far tougher schedule than the '17 campaign. 

Against Citrus, the Lancers defense and late bullpen failed them while the offense created opportunities, but stranded 13 baserunners. In the ninth, trailing 8-3 and down to its final out, PCC mounted a rally with centerfielder John Bicos blooping a RBI single that was followed by a wild pitch that scored the team's fifth run. With the bases loaded, second baseman Alex Jelloian tapped a grounder to third but was called out on a close call at first to end the contest. 

Owls reliever Sir Jordan Gomez threw the final four innings for his ninth win. PCC starter Patrick Pena threw well, going 4.2 innings before giving up his only run in the fifth. He scattered five hits and four walks while striking out five. Nathan Garkow (4-3) pitched heroically in relief and held a 2-1 lead before the defense made two costly errors resulting in two unearned runs in the seventh. Citrus picked up a run in the eighth and four more in the top of the ninth against the Lancers final two relievers. 

Designated hitter/catcher Tony Shue, third baseman Nico Martinez, first baseman Jason Ajamian and Bicos all had two hits. 

On March 27 at Ventura, the Pirates slipped past PCC, 5-2. Gordon Ingebritson (5-3, 7 Ks) and Lorenzo Llorens combined to allow 10 hits and only two earned runs with 11 strikeouts. Pasadena's defense made three errors. Martinez batted 2-for-5 as the only Lancer with mulitiple hits.

On March 26, visiting Los Angeles Valley scored four runs (three unearned) in the top of the first and PCC played catch-up the rest of the way in an 8-4 defeat. Three more errors along with four hit batsmen by Lancers relievers aided to the dismal effort. Shue batted 3-for-4 and shortstop Jose Jimenez went 2-for-4.

On March 24 at Brookside Park, Mt. San Antonio, the state's No. 4 ranked team, shut out PCC for the second time in its 3-game, SCC series, 9-0. Jacob Kampen hurled a complete-game, 3-hitter in shutting down the Lancers bats. Pasadena hit into four double plays. 

PCC did help itself in the conference standings by taking the middle game, 7-6, over the host Mounties in the team's last victory on March 22. The Lancers scored five runs in the fifth to take a commanding 6-1 lead. Leftfielder Edward Manzo batted 4-for-5 with a double, a triple and two RBI. Second baseman Ryan Lewis was 2-for-3 with a triple and two RBI. Martinez was 2-for-4 with three runs scored. Garkow pitched the first six innings for the victory and Llorens twirled three innings of 2-hit, shutout relief for the save.

In the month of March, the team's batting has plummeted. In 12 games, the Lancers are hitting .256 with a woeful .299 slugging percentage. PCC has a 5-7 record in the month.

The team's final 15 games are all SCC contests beginning with a Tuesday, April 3 affair at Long Beach City College.