Torres, Walton Lead Baseball in Taking 2-of-3 v. SoCal #8 Mt. SAC

Benny Torres delivers a pitch in a game from earlier this season, photo by Michael Watkins. Article by PCC | Photo by Michael Watkins Sophomore relief pitcher Benny Torres and frosh rightfielder Tai Walton delivered with clutch contributions in helping the Pasadena City College baseball team take a 3-game series over SoCal #8-rated Mt. San […]

Benny Torres delivers a pitch in a game from earlier this season, photo by Michael Watkins.

Article by PCC | Photo by Michael Watkins

Sophomore relief pitcher Benny Torres and frosh rightfielder Tai Walton delivered with clutch contributions in helping the Pasadena City College baseball team take a 3-game series over SoCal #8-rated Mt. San Antonio, 2-games-to-1. The Lancers won the rubber match on Saturday, 8-4, at Brookside Park’s Jackie Robinson Field.

Currently unranked, PCC evened its overall record (9-9) and South Coast Conference mark (3-3). Mt. SAC dropped to 11-6 and 2-4. The series matched last year’s SCC Co-North Division champions. This season, the divisions were dissolved and the conference is one league made up of nine teams

In the first inning, Walton reached on a single to right that sent third baseman Marco Martinez (walked) to third. Designated hitter Thomas Kolling followed with sharp ball hit toward the middle that was fielded by Mt. SAC’s shortstop. While Kolling just beat the throw, a heads up Walton roared all the way from first to slide home safely, giving PCC a 2-0 lead. In the second inning, the Mounties chose to intentionally walk the dangerous All-American hitter Martinez to load the bases in order to face Walton. The local La Canada High product promptly lined a 2-RBI single to center for a 4-0 Lancers advantage.

Walton finished the day 3-for-4 as did Kolling, who drove in 4 RBI. Torres relieved starter and winning pitcher Cody Crowder (6.1 innings, six hits, one earned run, four walks, three Ks) with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh and PCC ahead 8-2. Torres limited the damage, recorded two fly ball outs, one a sacrifice fly. He closed out the game with 2.2 innings of 2-hit ball (one run) and three strikeouts. Although he didn’t get credit for a save, it was as close to a save as one can get (one out short due to scoring rules).

Martinez was 1-for-3 with two walks and three runs scored. The letterman continues to lead the state in walks drawn with now 24. Currently, Martinez is second in the state in on-base percentage at a .593 clip (first in the region).

In the opener on Feb. 25 at Brookside, Mt. SAC led 2-1 in the bottom of the eighth inning before Walton roped a 2-RBI triple for the game-deciding hit in a 4-2 Lancers win. Torres hurled 3.2 innings of 4-hit shutout ball and three strikeouts to seal the mound victory. Martinez figured in the rally as he was 1-for-1 with three walks and scored two runs. In eight appearances this season, the 6-foot-1, 290-pound Torres (2-0, one save) has been magnificent with an 0.92 ERA in 19.2 innings, allowing only 13 hits, three total runs (two earned), and striking out 18 batters.

In the middle game on Feb. 27, PCC fell behind 5-0 after one inning and despite rallying late lost to host Mt. SAC, 7-6. Catcher Jaren Surdo slugged a 3-run double in the seventh and centerfielder Gabe Arellano belted a long home run over the left field fence to lead off the ninth that shaved the Mounties lead to one. At that point, Jacob Kampen was brought in to relieve and the sophomore struck out the side for the Mounties save.

Arellano was 2-for-5, leftfielder Aryonis Harrison batted 2-for-3, and shortstop Jacob Ogle was 1-for-2 with two stolen bases. Sophomore Benny Olguin had his best pitching outing of the season in relief as he hurled 6.1 innings of 2-hit ball (one run) and three Ks that kept the Lancers in the contest.

Last week, PCC’s 9-game win streak v. Rio Hondo was not only stopped, but the Roadrunners would surprisingly take the series, 2-game-to-1 with well-played, 7-6 and 3-1 wins over the Lancers on Feb. 20 and Feb. 22, respectively. In the first win, host Rio Hondo snapped an incredible 29-inning shutout streak accomplished by Lancers pitchers v. Roadrunners bats dating back to last season after Pasadena grabbed a 4-0 lead. RHC scored two in the third, but PCC upped the lead to 6-2 only to see Rio Hondo score five unanswered runs in rallying for the victory.

In that loss, Harrison batted 4-for-5 with a double while Walton and Kolling each hit 2-for-5. Torres threw three no-hit innings (four strikeouts) after RHC took the lead in the sixth.

In the series finale, PCC collected 10 hits but scored its only run in the fourth inning on a RBI single by second baseman Erik Lewis. Rio Hondo broke a 1-1 tie in the sixth on a bunt single and a smart running play as the Lancers allowed the runner from second to break home and score when the hitter Ricky Akles purposely got in a rundown alertly rounding first after his hit. Pasadena stranded 10 runners on base but never threatened in the ninth, going down 1-2-3 against RHC reliever Nick Juarez.

Kolling batted 3-for-4 while Walton and first baseman Dino Miranda each were 2-for-4. Crowder pitched eight strong innings (eight hits, two earned runs, no walks) but took the loss.

Coach Pat McGee’s Lancers next plays SoCal #10-ranked Cerritos College in a 3-game series next week, beginning with a road contest on Tuesday, Mar. 3.

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