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Walk-Off Win: Smith's Big Hit Lifts Baseball Over LA Harbor, 5-4

Walk-Off Win: Smith's Big Hit Lifts Baseball Over LA Harbor, 5-4 image

With two outs in the ninth inning Thursday, sophomore catcher Brian Smith swung at a pitch nearly over his head. He missed. But when Smith found a pitch a little more in his vicinity on his next swing, he blasted a shot over the leftfielder's head, giving the Lancers a 5-4, walk-off victory over visiting LA Harbor College in a South Coast Conference game at Brookside Park's Jackie Robinson Memorial Field.

Smith, who batted 3-for-4 overall, was swarmed by his teammates in a game-ending celebration as PCC snapped a 3-game conference losing streak to even its SCC record at 4-4 (6-11 overall). LA Harbor dropped to 7-12-1 and 4-4 in conference.

Smith's heroic hit (ruled a double) scored starting pitcher/designated hitter Max Romero, who had reached second base on a throwing error by the Seahawks' third baseman. The pitching win went to closer Jon Paul Salazar, who worked his way out of a bases-loaded jam in the top half of the ninth. PCC's pitchers stranded 14 LA Harbor baserunners.

Romero came up with his second gem in conference play, hurling 5-1/3 innings of 5-hit ball, 1-earned run ball, and striking out 9. Romero struck out the side in the first inning, leaving the bases loaded.

PCC led 3-1, but would fall behind 4-3 going into the bottom half of the eighth. Smith singled to lead off that inning and was moved to third on a Harbor error off of a sacrifice bunt by shortstop Mike Vasquez. Centerfielder Garrett Adams hit into a 6-6-3 double play, but Smith scored from third to tie it 4-4.

Prior to Salazar's closing stint, the Lancers received a strong relief effort by Esteban Barajas, who pitched 1-2/3 innings of shutout ball, striking out 2.

Third baseman Damian Santamaria batted 2-for-4 and leftfielder Enrique Reynoso hit a 2-RBI single in the fourth inning, but was later ejected for arguing with an umpire.

"The one thing that has been consistent with our conference wins is good pitching," PCC Head Coach Evan O'Meara said. "Romero, Barajas, and Salazar all came through for us on the hill and kept us in the game. I'm glad for Smith. He's been a two-year starter behind the plate and a guy who has worked hard to get better as a hitter."

The Lancers now have more conference wins in eight games (four) than they had all of last season in 24 SCC contests (three).

PCC will visit Harbor Saturday in a 12 noon game in Wilmington.

[Photo--The Lancers get ready to swarm hitting hero Brian Smith (far right) after his game-winning double lifted PCC to a 5-4 win over visiting LA Harbor Thursday. Reserve catcher James Stephens raises his hands (right) in triumph, and Ahmed Razi (middle) gets ready do a chest bump with Smith, image by Richard Quinton.]

Release Date: 03/18/10
Robert Lewis, Sports Information
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