The recently unfamiliar satisfaction of winning returned to the Lancers baseball team on Saturday for the first time since Feb. 8 as PCC defeated the Vikings of Long Beach City College by a score of 9-5.
The Lancers recorded their first conference win of the season, breaking a 12-game losing streak in 2014 and a 28-game South Coast Conference losing streak dating back to last season. Before Saturday’s victory, PCC also had not scored more than two runs in a game since their 15-8 loss on Feb. 22 to visiting Grossmont College.
“The monkey is off our back,” said head coach Evan O’Meara. “The difference between what we did on Saturday versus what we’ve done up until then is we didn’t allow a mistake to snowball exponentially into something worse. We were very patient with pitches and were able to move runners on the base path. Everyone in the lineup contributed.”
Led by a barrage of 15 hits on the day, the Lancers had three players who had two RBI each in freshman catcher Macrin Gallardo, sophomore second baseman Kai Nakamura and freshman right fielder Steven San Miguel. Freshman standout center fielder P.J. DeZotell, a CCCBCA SoCal Player of the Week winner earlier this season, and freshman left fielder Jimmy Cramer each had three hits apiece on the day.
“Having a great start to the game really sparked our offense,” said DeZotell. “A scoreless top of the inning really kept our confidence up and a great bottom of the inning gave us confidence throughout the game.”
An astounding statistic for the Lancers was their sudden emergence on the base paths. Before Saturday’s game vs. Long Beach, Pasadena had only stolen eight total bases in 19 games this season. However, they erupted for seven stolen bases in Saturday’s game without being caught. DeZotell stole three of the bases, while Cramer stole two on the day.
“We have a really fast running offense,” said DeZotell. “We have struggled getting on base but when we get the opportunity to get runners on base like Saturday, we could easy steal a few bases.”
The scoring started early for PCC against Long Beach. In the bottom of the first inning with two outs, the Lancers scored three runs off of four straight singles by freshman first baseman Nick Perez, Gallardo, DeZotell and Nakamura.
For the Lancers’ pitchers, the run support was a lot to make freshman starting pitcher Zach Britt and freshman relief pitcher Jason Marquez smile about. After RBIs by San Miguel and freshman third baseman Eric Grajeda in the bottom of the fifth inning, PCC entered the top of the sixth inning with a 5-1 lead over LBCC.
“We got a very quality start out of Zach Britt,” said O’Meara. “It’s remarkable how confident you become when your offense is supporting you. It was a great day.”
After pitching five stellar innings before heading into the sixth inning, Britt began to show fatigue as he allowed three runs in the inning, cutting the Lancer lead to 5-4. In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Lancer offense tallied five hits and four runs. The 9-4 lead was plenty to work with for Marquez, who pitched three shutout innings in relief of Britt.
With the victory, the Lancers improved to 4-16 on the season and 1-8 in South Coast Conference play. PCC will travel to LA Harbor College today to open a three-game series. The second game of the series against LA Harbor will be held at Jackie Robinson Memorial Field on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. The finale of the series will shift back to LA Harbor on Saturday at noon when the Lancers visit Seahawk Field in Wilmington.
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