Trailing 5-0 going into the bottom of the seventh inning Thursday, the Pasadena City College baseball team had the Long Beach City Vikings right where they wanted them in their 2019 South Coast Conference opener. That's because the Lancers have dug themselves out of similar holes in the past two seasons. Sure enough, the Lancers scored two in the seventh, four in the eighth to tie it 6-6 and capped the rally on Shane Ogata's walk-off RBI double in the 10th to pull out a 7-6 victory.
The comeback capped a perfect 6-0 homestand for the Lancers (9-3) at their off-campus diamond--Jackie Robinson Memorial Field at Brookside Park. PCC's impressive home success continues as it is 39-17 since late 2016 (.696 win percentage).
After being silenced by LBCC ace Garrett Rennie for six innings (just two hits), PCC finally got to him in the seventh. With two outs, rightfielder Ogata singled to right to put runners on first and second. Second baseman Andrew Scannell followed by lining a RBI single to right that got under the glove of the Vikings' rightfielder, alllowing Ogata to score from first and cut the lead to 5-2.
Down 6-2 in the eighth, centerfielder Gabriel Arellano, who was 0-for-3 to that point, led off the inning by extending his season-long hit streak to 12 games on a basehit to center. With one out and runners on first and third, PCC would continue the rally without getting the ball out of the infield on its next three hits. Reserve catcher Adrian Depasquale (roller toward third), backup designated hitter Wyatt Coates (tapper to third), and Ogata (chopper over mound) all reached safely. Coates and Ogata's hits came with two outs off hard-luck Vikings' reliever Trevor Sutt, who had relieved Rennie to end the seventh.
With the bases loaded, that brought up Scannell, who again came up with a clutch at bat as he ripped a line drive, 2-run single to left that tied the game at 6-6.
After one out in the 10th, first baseman Vic Zepeda and Coates lined singles. Ogata, who was batting just .182 coming into the game, played hero as he bombed a drive to deep left as his double scored Zepeda for the winning run. The Lancers then swarmed Ogata in a typical walk-off celebration.
Ogata, who finished with three hits in his final three at bats, was an All-South Coast Conference First Team selection and then CCCBCA All-SoCal Region choice when the Lancers won the 2017 SCC North Division championship. He missed the 2018 season as a medical redshirt with a shoulder injury.
"To see Shane return after a long, long rehab process and difficult surgery, I'm as happy for a player as you can be," said PCC head coach Pat McGee. "It was great to see Andrew Scannell have a big day at the plate as he has worked hard to make progress. It may have taken a while to get the offense going today, but we were kept in the game with great defense by our shortstop Ryan Lewis. He has absolutely continued the stellar play at the position that we have become accustomed to as part of winning PCC baseball. We faced adversity from the moment we reached the field today and I'm just real proud of our team's effort and how we responded to the challenge."
The sophomore Lewis, exclusively a second baseman as a freshman, made several slick plays, including a diving catch on a liner to the shortstop hole to end the third inning.
PCC finished with 14 hits (12 over the last four innings) and raised its team average to .325, as it leads the state in batting as of March 1. The Lancers touched Sutt (1-1) for nine hits and five earned runs after the LBCC closer had not allowed an earned run in his first six appearances (14 innings) and allowed only eight hits until facing PCC.
Lancers reliever Benny Torres earned his first collegiate win with 1-2/3 innings of no-hit ball and two strikeouts. Starter and ace Gordon Ingebritson pitched six innings, scattering nine hits and allowed two earned runs followed by reliever Benny Olguin hurling 2-1/3 innings, giving up four hits, one run and striking out three. PCC's staff is No. 6 in the state in ERA with a 2.44 team mark.
Individually, Arellano is second in the state and tops in the region with a .483 batting average. He picked up his 10th multiple hit game to finish the month of February.
Pasadena closes a 2-game conference series v. the Vikings on Saturday, Mar. 2 (12 noon), weather permitting.