Tony Shue leaned to the right with dozens of other players, fans and coaches all watching his high-arching drive drop feet from the left-field foul line for the Lancers second walk off victory of the season, and a split of the two-game series against El-Camino College (ECC).
“It felt good, it was definitely an experience,” said Shue, describing his first walk-off at any level.
The Lancers entered the 9th inning on Monday trailing by three runs and still facing the Warriors’ starter. However, after leading off the inning with a hit and a walk, El Camino went to the bullpen allowing PCC to tee off with four hits in the final frame to win 6-5.
“It’s common in our conference if you can get the starter out, the bullpens aren’t as effective as you would like them to be from a coaching perspective” said Lancers head coach, Pat McGee.
Monday’s win avenged an 11-0 loss to El Camino in the first game of the home-and-home series the previous Thursday. Freshman ace Gordon Ingebritson threw fewer innings (3.1) and allowed more runs (six) than he has in any of his other starts this year. In the fourth inning, after hitting a batter, walking one, and allowing two runs on as many hits before earning two outs, a frustrated Ingebritson repeatedly shook off his catcher, then settled in for his windup as the batter called timeout.
After briefly protesting the legality of the timeout, Ingebritson walked the batter (which scored another run) and was removed from the game. The Lancers went to the bullpen and their deficit quickly became insurmountable.
On Monday, however, starter Josh Aguilar (no decision) tossed 5 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits while striking out five and walking one. Still, his outing was somewhat shaky for his standards, as he hit two batters and occasionally struggled to get the third out of an inning.
“I competed, tried to throw a lot of strikes but didn’t have my best stuff, got down in the count early [and] had to find my way back into the game” Aguilar said, “I wasn’t using my slider as well and then I kind of caught rhythm [in the] third and fourth inning and was able to throw it for a strike.”
The elephant in the room for the Lancers is the defense, particularly the corner outfielders, whose missteps twice granted Warriors bases that they otherwise would not have earned on Monday. The latter of these mistakes was a lazy popup that was lost in the sun and would have ended the Warriors half of the 5th inning if caught.
Having thrown over 100 pitches, Aguilar handed a 1-run deficit to reliever Lorenzo Llorens in the 6th, who allowed a 3-run home run to the 5th batter he faced. He pitched two innings allowing three runs on as many hits while walking one batter, handing the ball after the seventh to the eventual winning pitcher, sophomore Race Gardner.
Entering the game with the Lancers down 5-1, Gardner did not allow an opposing runner to reach second base and was by far the Lancers most visibly dominant pitcher.
Another positive note for the Lancers came in the sixth inning of game two when shortstop and leadoff man Jose Jimenez singled, extending his hitting streak to 18 games (now 19).
For those who believe streaks don’t matter, Jimenez was intentionally walked in the ninth inning bringing designated hitter Tony Shue to the plate for an at bat that ended in the game-winning single.
The Lancers lost 4-1 on Tuesday, March 6 at LA Harbor. The two squads play again Thursday March 8 at 2:00 p.m. at Brookside Park, a home game for the Lancers.