With nine strikeouts over seven innings from starting pitcher Tommy Wilson, the Brahmas (12-4, 16-20) increased their conference lead with a 5-1 victory over the Bakersfield College Renegades (9-7, 14-22) Tuesday.
The win gives Pierce a one-game lead over Mission College (11-5, 22-13), and puts them three up on Bakersfield in the Western State Conference – South.
As has been the norm for him this season, Wilson (6-4) struggled in the first inning. A walk and bloop single put men on second and third for the Renegades with one out.
“Once I get in that situation, I’m still feeling good,” Wilson said. “Not trying to change anything, just get the strikeout and not let them get that run in. I live for that pressure situation.”
Wilson responded by striking out the next two batters to end the inning. Wilson’s nine strikeouts on the day brings his conference leading total to 97.
The Brahmas put up a run in the first on a sac fly from Will Picketts, bringing Mike Scolaro home.
A misplayed ball in left field scored a run for Bakersfield in the second, but that would be the extent of their offense.
A bases loaded walk to Brandon Lewis broke the tie for Pierce in the third, but the score sat at 2-1 until the seventh.
Pinch hitter Michael Rincover singled in Will Picketts with two outs. JJ Gonzalez followed up with a two-run single to bring the lead to 5-1.
“Pitchers were a little wild for their team,” Scolaro said. “We took advantage of it, came through when we needed to. A couple clutch hits by JJ and Rincover helped us out and sealed up the game.”
Chris Kovach came in for the six-out save, shutting down the Renegades to finish the game.
Kovach, regularly a starter, threw less than 30 pitches and could still start Thursday against Valley College, according to head coach Bill Picketts.
“I’ll see how he feels,” Picketts said. “He didn’t throw many pitches. I’m going to kind of ride [Wilson and Kovach] here at the end. Regardless of what happens, we need to beat Mission. We can’t let any of those other games get away.”
Thursday’s game against Valley will be at Joe Kelly Field. First pitch scheduled for 2:30 p.m.