Highs and Lows For PCC Baseball

Thomas Villanueva makes the circus catch in CF on Wednesday (photo by Richard Quinton).
Thomas Villanueva makes the circus catch in CF on Wednesday (photo by Richard Quinton).

For all the ease that the Pasadena City College baseball team seemed to have in a 13-2 win over West Los Angeles on Tuesday, it was quite a different story on Wednesday. The Lancers let a 7-4 lead get away in allowing six runs in the top of the ninth inning as Victor Valley sent them to a 10-8 loss. Both games were played at the team's off-campus home diamond at Brookside Park's Jackie Robinson Memorial Field.

PCC (5-4 overall) rode the a 7-inning, 7-hit shutout starting pitching gem by sophomore transfer Jameson Ferraro (no walks, six strikeouts) in routing the Wildcats. The Lancers led 2-0 after five innings, then tallied four in the sixth and tacked on seven in the eighth to put the non-conference contest away.

The squad's hot-hitting trio of leftfielder Bryan Richman, catcher Mark Manuel and first baseman Adrian Roman continued to pound the ball. Richman (2-for-2, four runs scored, 3 walks) and Manuel (2-for-2, two walks, a hit-by-pitch, and three RBI) combined to reach base safely in all 10 of their at-bats. Roman went 3-for-6 with a double and four RBI. Letterman shortstop Jack Esguerra got into the act as well by going 3-for-5.

Against Victor Valley, PCC jumped ahead, 3-0, after two innings and held a 3-2 lead in the seventh when it struck for three runs, two on an Esguerra fly single to right field, for a 6-2 advantage. In the top of the eighth, an acrobatic, leaping catch on the run by Thomas Villanueva in center field, who didn't enter the game until the seventh as defensive replacement, and a sliding catch by another defensive replacement in right field--Joshua Sanchez--got the Lancers out of trouble as the Rams cut it to 6-4.

In the ninth, reliever Ben Griffith, who entered in the sixth inning, tried to close it out to no avail. VVC bashed out six hits in the inning, taking the lead on a 2-run double by relief pitcher Juan Martinez and adding two more on second baseman Davenmarcus Rivera's single. 

PCC rallied in the ninth on a Devin Munoz RBI double, but the Rams' closer Ian Razo got Roman, who has been the team's top hitter with a .459 average, to ground into a 4-6 fielder's choice with the bases loaded to end it. 

Esguerra had his second straight 3-hit game, Richman was 2-for-4 with a double, two walks, three runs scored and a stolen base, and Munoz came off the bench to go 2-for-2, his first collegiate hits.

Lancers starting sophomore pitcher Justin Goldman threw three strong innings (two hits, one unearned run, three Ks) and first reliever Aiden Nunez also was effective with two shutout frames. 

Roman and Manuel (.429) are both carrying 9-game hit streaks to open the season as the pair has driven in 10 RBI each. Each has torried on-base percentages with Manuel at .565 and Roman at .533 (also tied for fourth in the state in overall hits with 17).

Richman has a remarkable, state-leading 19 runs scored in nine contests while hitting .313 and also above .500 in on-base percentage. Esguerra is 10-for-16 in his last four games to climb to a .406 batting average. 

The pitching staff has two wins each from Connor Campbell and Joe Bacon, three saves (second in the state) by closer Ernesto Duenas (1.50 ERA in 12 innings, 11 strikeouts) and a 1.84 ERA from Ferraro (1-2 record, 14.2 innings, 12 Ks). 

The Lancers play at West LA on Thursday, Feb. 15 (2 p.m.) then return to Brookside on Saturday for a 12 noon contest v. Citrus.