Pitching, Defense Carries Baseball Over SoCal #7 Golden West

Thomas Villanueva with the circus catch that led to a double play in PCC's win on Wednesday (photo/gallery by Richard Quinton).
Thomas Villanueva with the circus catch that led to a double play in PCC's win on Wednesday (photo/gallery by Richard Quinton).

The mound tandem of Jameson Ferraro and Connor Campbell limited SoCal #7-ranked Golden West to seven hits while striking out 10 batters and received some timely defense as the #20 Pasadena City College baseball team downed the Rustlers, 3-1, at Brookside Park's Jackie Robinon Field on Wednesday.

The non-conference win upped PCC's overall record to 16-12 while GWC dropped to 18-10. 

Ferraro (5-2) lowered his South Coast Conference-leading ERA to 1.75 as he struck out seven batters over six innings (seven hits, two walks), then turned it over to Campbell who fired three no-hit innings (three Ks) for his second save. Ferraro is ninth in the state in ERA while the Lancers were able to do enough to get past Orange Empire Conference earned run average leader Alex Ramos, seventh in the state in the category.

In the top of the fourth, Golden West had runners on first and second when Robert Castillo launched a drive to left-center field. PCC leftfielder Thomas Villanueva made a spectacular leaping catch near the fence then was able connect his relay throw to shortstop Jack Esguerra who cut down Andrew Kirchner at third base for an inning-ending double play. Villanueva earlier made a diving catch in the second inning off the bat of Dylan Lina. 

In the bottom of the fourth, catcher Mark Manuel (2-for-3) doubled to center and eventually scored on second baseman Ivan Barragan's sacrifice fly. With two outs, Villanueva was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on a RBI double to left by Esguerra (2-for-4) that gave PCC a 2-0 lead. 

In the sixth, Golden West scored its lone run on a bizarre play. Castillo lifted a drive that PCC centerfielder Tyler Garcia appeared to make a dazzling leaping catch, but his momentum carried him into the flag pole that stands incredibly in play right in front of the centerfield fence as the ball popped out of his glove. The umpires ruled it a fair ball and the double cut it to 2-1. With runners on second and third, Ferraro got out of further trouble by striking out Castillo to keep PCC ahead.

In the bottom of the frame, designated hitter Evan Nahra added an an insurance run a RBI single to center. 

More nice defense for PCC occurred in the seventh when Manuel gunned out a runner trying to steal. Campbell later got pinch hitter Dennis Fitzpatrick to ground into a game-ending, 6-4-3 double play turned by Esguerra and Barragan to first baseman Adrian Roman

"Our two pitchers were outstanding and can't say enough about our defense," said PCC head coach Pat McGee. "To beat a good team like Golden West, you have to make the extra effort and that's what we received today."

On Tuesday, Golden West defeated visiting PCC, 9-2. Third baseman Devin Munoz hit 2-for-4 with a double and scored both Lancers runs. Lefty Ernesto Duenas pitched well, striking out six batters in five innings ut took the loss. Jacob Fox pitched two shutout relief innings. The Rustlers' rightfielder Jack Salmon knocked in four runs, including a 2-RBI triple in the seventh. 

On Saturday, Pasadena visits #17 Palomar in a 1 p.m. non-conference contest. The team returns to South Coast Conference play April 2-6 when it plays a 3-game series v. East Los Angeles College.