Excitement filled the air at Kelly Field as the Pierce College baseball team came away with an 8-7 ninth inning win in an offensive battle with Rio Hondo College on Tuesday March 27.
“It was battle, towards the end, it was almost who was going to hit last,” said Rio Hondo coach Tom Fenton.
The Road Runners fought for a full nine innings notching seven runs on 14 hits.
Starting pitcher Paul Paez threw well for Rio Hondo giving up 11 hits and six runs. Paez also struck out eight batters in seven innings.
“We just got to be more detailed and take advantage of every situation we have,” Fenton said. “We were able to get base runners early in the game, and we just weren’t able to convert that into runs.”
For the Brahmas, clutch hitting from their number two through number six hitters really put Pierce in a great position to steal a win from the Road Runners.
“Offensively, no doubt as good as we have been all year,” said head coach John Bushart. “They had 14 hits, but we punched back.”
The game came all the way down to the last inning for Pierce, where they were able to string hits together and required some late heroics to pull a win.
Second baseman Dylan Tashjian started the ninth inning off by reaching base on a single and advanced to second base from a sacrifice bunt by right fielder Nick Murphy.
Tashjian then was able to steal third on a pass ball, and first baseman Alex Sawleson drew a walk putting Rio Hondo into a first and third situation which really kick started things for the Brahmas.
Third baseman and relief pitcher Kevin Torres stepped up to the batter’s box and delivered the game tying single.
“I’m not striking out, I’m getting a hit right now,” said Torres recalling his last at bat forcing a 7-7 tie and potential extra innings.
However a tie was not enough for the Brahmas as it was catcher Jason D’Andrea’s turn with his only at bat for the game.
“I came in the eighth inning to catch,” said D’Andrea. “I was looking for a ball up, a fastball, just looking to hit the ball hard and up the middle.”
D’Andrea ripped a walk-off single to right field scoring Sawleson and gave the Brahmas a well fought win.
On the defensive end pitcher Bobby Schauer put together a strong performance giving up two runs on 10 hits with five strikeouts in six innings.
“When we have Bobby on the mound it’s obviously different. He’s our number one guy and we show a lot more confidence when he’s taking the mound,” D’Andrea said.
Pitcher Boyd Bell was able to deliver a solid inning of relief, and Torres was brought to the mound from third base where he was able to close the game out and grab the win.
“Our pitching was ok, good enough to keep us in the game,” Bushart said.
This win marks as their fourth win in the last six games and brings their home record to .500 at 7-7.
“Guys started growing up, maturing, and figuring it out. You either get tired of losing, or you accept losing, and I think these guys got tired of losing,” commented Bushart on the team’s recent turn around.
Pierce will travel out to Whittier tomorrow Wednesday March 28 to face off against Rio Hondo again at 2 p.m.