WHITTIER, CA — The East Los Angeles College baseball team held on for a 6-4 win at Rio Hondo College in South Coast Conference North Division play. ELAC leads the three-game series 1-0.
ELAC, 20th-ranked in the California Community College Baseball Coaches Association South Region Poll, improves to 17-13 overall and moves into a tie with Chaffey College (13-17, 7-5) for second place in the SCC North. Rio Hondo (11-16, 4-7) dropped its third straight game.
Sophomore Steven Nuno (Warren High School), one of five Husky pitchers in the circle today, earned the win. He struck one in six innings. Although he yielded four runs, Nuno has an earned run average of 2.15, 39th best in the state from more than 300 pitchers. In the loss, Rio Hondo pitcher Nicko Cottone (Downey HS) struck out six and walked one.
Each team scored a run in the first inning. After two outs in the top of the inning, sophomore left fielder Zech Jarrard (Temple City HS) singled then stole second base. Freshman first baseman Bryan Duenas (Warren HS) singled (run batted in) and ELAC led 1-0. In the bottom half, Rio Hondo evened the score with an unearned run aided by a Husky error.
The Huskies added a run in the second inning. Sophomore right fielder Elias Maldonado (Northview HS) singled and later scored from sophomore catcher Matthew Shults’ (South Pasadena HS) sacrifice fly to center field.
ELAC added two runs in the fourth from three hits, a single by sophomore catcher Matthew Sosa (Whittier HS) and a double each from Jarrard and Duenas. Jarrard stole third. Freshman second baseman Grant Victor (St. Francis HS) stole second, his 12th steal of the season, 23rd best in the state.
Jarrard homered in the fifth inning and ELAC led 5-1. Rio Hondo scored three runs in the next two innings from five hits, aided by a Husky error, and ELAC led 5-4 entering the seventh. Center fielder Lucas Rocha (Fullerton HS) had two hits for the Roadrunners, a double and a single.
Rio Hondo chased Nuno off the mound, and four ELAC pitchers kept the Roadrunners at bay. In one inning of work, freshman pitcher Luis Ramos (Venice HS) had a strikeout for the Huskies.
ELAC added an insurance run in the eighth. After Victor doubled, Jarrard singled him home (RBI). Freshman pitcher Josh Jorgensen (Lakewood HS) closed out the game to secure the win earning his third save of the season. His final two outs in one inning on the mound were strikes, the first one with the batter looking and the second with the batter swinging.
Nuno, who has been hot on the mound, improved to 5-3. He won his third straight game. Nuno’s five wins ranks him at No. 21 in the state.
ELAC outhit Rio Hondo 10-9 with four hits from Jarrard, who was a perfect 4-for-4. He doubled, homered and singled twice with three RBIs. Jarrard has a batting average of .385, 33rd best in the state.
Duenas, who bats .362, doubled twice and singled (2 RBIs). Victor doubled and two Huskies singled, Maldonado and Sosa. Sosa leads the Dawgs in hits with 38.
The second game of the series is at home on Thursday, 2:30 p.m., while the final game is set for Saturday, April 7 on the Rio Hondo campus at noon.
Follow ELAC Athletics at http://athletics.elac.edu/landing/index or on Facebook at ELAC Huskies Athletics (@elachuskiesathletics).
story submitted by Tadzio Garcia