Hot-hitting Lancers continue their quest for the title

Kathryn Zamudio/Courier
Pasadena City College's (PCC) Race Gardner pitches against Rio Hondo College's Randy Buenrostro during their South Coast Conference North Division game at Brookside Jackie Robinson Memorial Field on Thursday, April 6, 2017. Gardner pitched for 7 innings, allowing only 6 hits and 2 runs, both earned, awarding him the win and holding the Rio Hondo Roadrunners to a miniscule 4 points against PCC's final count of 10.

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Led by an explosive offensive performance, Pasadena baseball defeated Rio Hondo College 10-4 on Thursday afternoon at Brookside Park, extending their lead in the SCC North Division race.

The Lancers’ hitters pummeled the Road Runner’s pitching by scoring 10 runs on 14 hits, a collective effort in which every Lancer got on base.

Leading the way for Pasadena’s high powered offense was conference leading hitter Jeremy Conant, who went three for three with two walks, an RBI and a run scored. Conant raised his batting average to an impressive .471 for the season.

“When our lead off man gets on, we’re dangerous,” shortstop Alex Briggs said. “Our guys did good job today sticking to our hitting plan and driving in those lead off hitters while putting pressure on the their defense.”

With great command and poise on the mound pitcher Race Gardner breezed through the Rio Hondo’s lineup, retiring nine of the first ten batters he faced. Gardner finished the day throwing seven strong innings, giving up six hits and walking none.

“[Gardner] pitched to our strength today, which is our defense,” head coach Pat McGee said. “We have the best shortstop [Alex Briggs] in California surrounded by a solid defense and that backed up Race today with all those ground ball outs.”

The Lancers improved to (9-6) in conference play and (17-10) overall. The 17th win is the most since 2006, when the team finished the season with 18 wins.

The win, plus Chaffey’s loss to Long Beach Thursday afternoon, increased Pasadena’s lead to 1 ½ games ahead of Rio Hondo and Chaffey for the division lead.

With seven remaining conference games and the division title within reach, the Lancers need to continue their dominance over their SSC North rivals.

“We have no easy outs in our lineup,” third baseman Nico Martinez said. “The way we played today and how we’ve been playing just shows how much of force we’ll be come playoff time.”

The Lancers look to extend their lead as they head back to Rio Hondo for the series finale on Saturday at 12:00 p.m.

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