Baseball Wins Another Series v. Mt. SAC

Ivan Barragan turns a double play in Thursday's win (photo by Richard Quinton).
Ivan Barragan turns a double play in Thursday's win (photo by Richard Quinton).

For the fourth straight season, the Pasadena City College baseball team won its best-of-3 series over South Coast Conference rival Mt. San Antonio, winning two games this week.

The Lancers opened with a 9-4 win at Mt. SAC on Mar. 19, outlasted the Mounties 2-1 in 11 innings on Mar. 21 before Mt. SAC won the finale, 16-2, on Saturday. 

Rated #20 in the SoCal Coaches Poll, PCC is 15-11 overall and in third place in the SCC at 8-7. Mt. SAC (14-11) is tied for fourth with Compton, both with 6-6 conference records. Long Beach leads the SCC at 11-1 while Cerritos is in second at 13-2. 

In the series opener, the Lancers trailed 3-0 after the first inning but rallied for a 4-3 lead on shortstop Jack Esguerra's, 3-run, bomb triple to center in the fifth inning. Rightfielder Bryan Richman added a 2-run double in the sixth and first baseman Adrian Roman knocked in two more on a single in the eighth. 

Richman batted 3-for-3 with a walk, a sacrifice bunt and a stolen base, Esguerra was 2-for-3 with two walks, third baseman Devin Munoz was 2-for-4, and centerfielder Tyler Garcia hit 1-for-2 while scoring three runs. 

Lefty Ernesto Duenas hurled six strong innings (scattered nine hits and four walks with four strikeouts) for the mound win and closer Ben Griffith gave up just three hits over three innings for his team-leading fourth save.

In game #2 at Brookside Park's Jackie Robinson Field, designated hitter Evan Nahra drew a bases-loaded walk for a true walk-off victory. Catcher Mark Manuel tied it at 1-1 in the fourth on a sacrifice fly. The teams stayed knotted until the second extra inning as Esguerra and Manuel each hit a single followed by a walk to second baseman Ivan Barragan. Nahra then accepted the game-winning free pass as the Lancers dugout erupted in celebration.

Esguerra made the play of the game defensively in the seventh inning. With a Mt. SAC runner on third base and one out, Esguerra made a diving backhand stop on a ball hit by Joel Gutierrez then fired home to cut down Ty Thomas on a fielder's choice tag play made by Manuel. 

Offensively, Roman was 3-for-5 and Esguerra 2-for-4. The pitching was brilliant as reliever Connor Campbell fired four innings of 3-hit, shutout ball for his fourth win while starter Jameson Ferraro went seven innings, allowing just five hits and one unearned run.

In the finale, Mt. SAC scored two in the first, four in the second and a put a 6-spot on the Lancers in the fourth to pull away. 

Esguerra hit 2-for-3 with a sacrifice fly while Nahra slugged a solo home run in the seventh. Aiden Nunez threw two shutout innings and Jacob Fox 1.1 scoreless frames as the only two effective relievers for PCC. 

Esguerra, a letterman, has risen to now #2 in the South Coast in batting at .400, trailing only Mt. SAC's Gutierrez (.412). Roman is third with a .393 average. The Lancers have four of the top 10 conference batting leaders as Richman (still the SCC leader in runs scored with 36) is sixth at .385 and outfielder Thomas Villanueva is 10th at .359. 

Roman continues to lead the conference in overall hits with 44 with Esguerra right behind at 42. Richman is second in on-base percentage at a .508 mark. Ferraro (4-2 record) is second in ERA with a sparkling 1.78 and is fifth in WHIP at 1.14. Griffith's four saves is tied for second in that conference category.

Next up for the Lancers is their bye week from SCC action as they play Orange Empire Conference foe Golden West in back-to-back games on Tuesday, Mar. 26 on the road and back home on Wednesday, Mar. 27. The games have 2 p.m. first pitches. 


Thursday's victory was No. 175 in the PCC head coaching career of Pat McGee as he also picked up his 100th conference triumph in now his ninth season in charge (2020 only 21 games played due to the pandemic year and no season played in 2021). 

Ironically, McGee's first coaching win in 2015 was also in extra innings over Antelope Valley (4-3 in 10) and his first conference win was in extra frames, defeating East Los Angeles 8-7 in 12.