Three years ago, Kenny Kim was pitching for Riverside City College. But things change and Kim wanted a fresh start as a position player. The switch has already paid dividends to his new school as Kim erased a 2-0 deficit by launching a 3-run homer in the fifth inning to help the Pasadena City College baseball team win its 2022 season opener at Citrus, 8-2, Thursday afternoon.
It was the first time PCC played a game since March, 2020. Head coach Pat McGee collected his sixth consecutive opening-day win, and the program's third in a row at Citrus' home diamond. It was McGee's 108th career head coaching victory.
Citrus led 2-0 when catcher Matt Rice led off the fifth with a double. He later scored as second baseman Andrew Scannell's reached on a RBI fielder's choice. With runners on first and third and two outs, Kim connected (see photo) with his bomb that gave the Lancers a 4-2 lead. Kim earlier got robbed of a 2-run double on a diving catch by Citrus centerfielder Matthew Espinoza. The sophomore Kim drew two walks in his last two at bats.
Rice batted 2-for-3 with two doubles and two runs scored. Shortstop Isaac Luevano, playing against his former college, was 1-for-3 with two walks.
Pasadena's pitching was highlighted by returning sophomores Ryan Graves and winning pitcher Benny Olguin. Graves, who has come all the way back from Tommy John surgery done 18 months ago, threw the first three innings, allowing just one hit (a 2-run HR by Chad Green), one earned run, no walks and striking out three.
Olguin relieved in the fourth and was brilliant with four innings of 2-hit shutout relief, including just one walk and three Ks. Rider Gardner, in his collegiate debut and the brother of PCC's new assistant pitching coach Race Gardner, hurled the final two innings of 2-hit scoreless relief with two strikeouts.
Pasadena plays at Cypress College today (Jan. 28) in a 2 p.m. non-conference contest.