Garkow Finishes What He Starts, Baseball Blanks Cerritos

Nathan Garkow dazzled with a 5-hit shutout as PCC completed a rain-halted game from March 13, beating Cerritos, 6-0, image by Richard Quinton.
Nathan Garkow dazzled with a 5-hit shutout as PCC completed a rain-halted game from March 13, beating Cerritos, 6-0, image by Richard Quinton.

It took 27 days for Nathan Garkow to close his own victory. But the three innings he pitched on Monday didn't go down as a save because it simply added to the six innings he threw back on March 13. Add the six and the three and Garkow finished with a 5-hit, complete-game shutout as the Lancers completed a rain-halted game from last month, beating Cerritos, 6-0, at Brookside Park's Jackie Robinson Field.

Garkow became the first Lancer in 12 years to throw a 9-inning, complete-game shutout. Raul Barron, who later played shortstop in the Toronto Blue Jays minor league system, hurled a 3-hitter in a 4-0 win over Glendale at JRF (under the lights) on April 12, 2006. Less than a week earlier, Eric Anderson tossed an 8-hit shutout, 5-0 over Mt. San Antonio on April 8. In 2001, Joe Carque pitched the last CG shutout by a PCC pitcher.

The Lancers (16-15) moved back over .500 in the South Coast Conference North Division at 7-6 and also ended up sweeping their 2-game series against state No. 3-ranked Falcons, now 24-8 and 9-5, leading the SCC South. All games between the two divisions count toward conference standings.

In the second inning back in March, leftfielder Edward Manzo ripped a triple and scored on an error for a 1-0 PCC lead. Designated hitter Tony Shue crushed a solo home run over the left field fence to lead off the fourth. In the same frame, Manzo hit a RBI single for a 3-0 advantage. Garkow was cruising with a 3-hitter over the first six innings, but a steady rain turned into a hard storm causing the umpires to halt the game going into the bottom half of the sixth inning.

On Monday, the Lancers added to the lead without a hit in the bottom of the sixth thanks to two more Cerritos errors. In the eighth, rightfielder Ardon Fryer hammered a double to left-center to score second baseman Ryan Lewis all the way from first. Both Fryer and Lewis batted 2-for-3 overall. 

Garkow (5-4) retired the last six in a row in his original start and the first six he faced Monday. He got into trouble in the ninth, allowing two singles but got Jesus Mercado to roll into a 6-4-3 double play started by PCC shortstop Jose Jimenez to preserve the shutout. The freshman walked just one batter and struck out five. It was the third shutout by the Lancers pitching staff this season, but the team's first complete game. Garkow lowered his ERA to 3.19, matched the team lead in victories with Gordon Ingebritson at five, already leads the team with three saves, and is averaging better than a strikeout per inning with 55 in 53.2 innings.

"Nathan pitched great a month ago, and he pitched just as well today. Maybe he should get a save and a win," said PCC head coach Pat McGee, the second part in jest. "We are getting our confidence back and this was a very important victory because Cerritos has a high RPI, and then just the fact we swept one of the state's best squads."

The Lancers snapped a season-worst 6-game losing streak on Friday, in a rain make-up (from March 17), 4-3 win over visiting Compton. PCC was tied 2-2 in the seventh, but scored twice including a RBI single by Jimenez. Lewis batted 3-for-4 while Jimenez (a double), Manzo and centerfielder John Bicos (and two RBI) each produced two hits. Race Gardner (3-1) pitched five strong innings, allowing four hits, two runs and recording 6 Ks. In relief, Jesus Zarazua pitched two shutout innings and Patrick Pena picked up the save with the final two innings of work. 

Pasadena is a sparkling 12-5 in games when the team totals 10 or more hits. The Lancers are 4-10 when they don't reach double digits.

PCC now opens a 3-game division series against East Los Angeles College, beginning with a road game on Tuesday, April 10 at 2;30 p.m.