Ranked #11 on this week's CCCSIA State Baseball Top 25 poll, Pasadena City College opened a 3-game series on Tuesday with the team that was ahead of them in the South Coast Conference standings--#24-ranked East Los Angeles. PCC seized the opportunity, rallyiing from down 3-0 to defeat the Huskies, 8-3, and in the process tie them for first place in the 9-team, conference race.
The Lancers are 15-6 overall and have tied the Huskies (11-10), each with conference-best 7-3 SCC records. The contest was played at PCC's off-campus diamond--Brookside Park's Jackie Robinson Memorial Field.
Right-handed thrower Jakob Guardado (2-2) pitched six strong innings, allowing four hits and three runs for the win and helped himself out at the plate with a pair of booming RBI doubles to deep center in the third and fifth innings. Rider Gardner allowed just one hit in three scoreless innings of relief for the save.
"Jakob, our second baseman Andrew Scannell, and first baseman Jake Trabbie all have picked a good time to start getting their bats going," said PCC head coach Pat McGee. "We have been relying so much on our 1-2 hitters, but with the other guys picking up the slack, it's helped us to become more consistent on offense. Jakob is settling in well in a starting role as our go-to pitcher to open conference series. We've been a team that has been slow to score runs at the start of games, but we seem to get in a groove in those middle to later innings. Now we have to build on today's win."
Against ELAC, the Lancers fell behind on a 3-run double hit by ELAC's Jason Vela in the second inning. Trailing 3-2 in the fifth, PCC scored four runs to take the lead for good. Singles by hot-hitting centerfielder/leadoff batter Max Blessinger and rightfielder Kenny Kim was followed by a line drive RBI hit by Trabbie that scored Blessinger with Kim coming home as well when the ELAC infield failed to field the subsequent throw from the centerfielder for an error. The lefty-hitting Guardado hit a bomb double to center to bring in Trabbie.
Third baseman Toshiki Kuriya, a Japanese transfer student, was 0-for-19 this season before collecting his first collegiate hit, a single to center. Scannell then hit a sacrifice fly to center that upped PCC's lead to 6-3.
Blessinger finished 3-for-4 with two runs scored, a stolen base and a walk. That raised his season average to .395 and his 32 total runs now leads the state in that category. Shortstop Raider Tello went 1-4 and while his batting average dropped to .473, it's still No. 2 in the state. Tello's 43 hits and 15 extra-base hits lead all California Community College players and his 30 RBI is fourth in the state. Blessinger is sixth in RBI with 28.
PCC outhit the Huskies, 13-5, with Trabbie batting 2-for-3, Guardado 2-for-5, Kim 2-for-5 and Scannell 1-for-3 with a double. This was the first time that the Lancers won the first game of a SCC series in the four series its played.
The series resumes on Thursday, March 17 in a 2:30 p.m. first pitch at ELAC.