SBCC baseball blanks LA Mission in Game One of Super Regional

JAMESON SWAIN, Sports Editor

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City College baseball moved one game closer to advancing to the program’s first Sectional Playoff berth with a 3-0 victory over LA Mission in the best-of-three series Friday, May 9, at Pershing Park.

Justin Bruce (No. 11) pitched eight solid innings for the Vaqueros (26-13) and Kit Larson (No. 18) closed out the Eagles in the ninth en route to the team’s third, and biggest, shutout of the season.

“Justin Bruce- outstanding effort on his end,” head coach Jeff Walker said. “Being a freshman and throwing the first game of the Super Regionals and giving us that kind of effort and performance is outstanding.”

Bruce struck out two batters in his eight innings and relied heavily on the eight other guys behind him to make plays. He was able to wiggle out of several pinches and his efforts earned him his seventh victory of the season. He is now 6-0 with a miniscule 1.70 Earned Run Average at Pershing Park.

“I was nervous in the beginning and a little bit when some of my pitches started to fall off,” Bruce said. “But once I saw our defense making incredible plays I was locked in. Our defense was insane.”

City College defense was solid behind Bruce, forcing out two runners at home. Right fielder Noeh Martinez (No. 26) threw out a runner at the plate trying to score in the fifth for the last out of the inning. His fine defensive play in conference this season earned him a Western State Conference Gold Glove Award.

LA Mission (25-15) outhit the Vaqueros nine to six but couldn’t get any runs across as costly base running ran the Eagles out of several innings.

Martinez went two for three at the plate with a sacrifice bunt and had the big hit on the day. With two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning Martinez lined a single up the middle, scoring Brandon Evans (No. 14) and Spencer Erdman (No. 5).

“I knew he was going to go with his off-speed (pitch),” Martinez said describing his big hit. “I sat back and just drove it.”

Erdman’s single earlier in the inning brought Jimmy Hill (No. 15) around to score for the first run of the ball game.

Hill’s leadoff walk got the offense going for the Vaqueros in the inning. A favorable “Pershing Park bounce” off the bat of Matt Gimenez (No. 13) ate up the Eagles’ first baseman and the Vaqueros had two runners on with one out.

Being at home has served as a safe haven for the Vaqueros as the team has gone 18-3 on the year at “The Persh.”

The Vaqueros stranded ten base runners on the day, six in the first three innings prior to the big hits by Erdman and Martinez.

LA Mission starting pitcher Ryan McBride pitched five innings, scattering four hits and striking out one. First baseman Conner O’Brien went three for five hitting leadoff for the Eagles.

The Eagles beat Saddleback College last weekend to earn its way to the Super Regionals.

The winner of the series will head to Fresno City College next weekend for Sectionals.

The two teams will face off again at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 10, at Pershing Park. If necessary, the third and final game of the series will be held at noon, Sunday, May 11.

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