By Jesus Arvizu and Erik Luna
With each team winning on their home fields, East Los Angeles College split two games against Mt. San Antonio College with a 6-5 loss on Thursday and a 13-1 win on Saturday.
The Huskies sent Cameron Baker to face the Mounties on Thursday. Baker left the game in the ninth inning after striking out seven batters and having a four-run cushion.
Both Baker and Mounties pitcher Nico Calderaro started the game strong, not allowing any runs until the fifth inning.
ELAC got on the board first in the fifth inning when Arnold Banuelos hit a single, which was followed with a double by Manuel Estevez. With Banuelos on third, Martin Rodriguez sacrificed in the first run of the game.
In the top of the sixth, ELAC extended its lead with two hits and took advantage of a wild pitch. ELAC left the inning up 3-0.
In the seventh inning, Martin Rodriguez doubled and was driven in by Kevin Jones, resulting in a 4-0 lead heading into the last two innings.
The Mounties broke up Baker’s shutout in the bottom of the eighth after a batter got hit by a pitch and a walk, putting two Mounties on base. Mt. SAC batter Ryan Perez singled in the first run of the game for Mt. SAC. ELAC’s defense ended the scoring threat with a double play.
Going into the bottom of the ninth with a 5-1 lead, Mt. SAC rallied. After ELAC allowed a lead-off single, Coach James Hines took the long walk to the mound and pulled Baker. Baker was greeted by applause from his teammates and from the entire audience.
The Huskies looked to their bullpen to close the game, but after walking two Mounties and hitting one with a pitch, Mt. SAC cut the lead to 5-2. A groundout resulted in another run being scored.
Mt. SAC eventually tied the score in the bottom of the ninth, 5-5. Mt. SAC batter Jacob Shirley hit a deep fly ball to the gap in left center, driving in the winning run.
As the Huskies made their way to the dugout, the effect of the loss set in with the players.
“When you walk guys and hit guys, you don’t win. That’s it. We didn’t win. We did a crappy job of finishing the game for (Baker), and we lost ourselves a W,”said coach Hines.
ELAC played Mt. SAC again two days later and this time did not leave anything to chance, dominating Mt. SAC in a 13-1 blowout win.
ELAC sent Chris Reyes to the mound, and he gave up his one-and- only-run in the first inning, allowing Mt. SAC a 1-0 lead.
Down by one run, the Huskies’ bats came to life in the third inning when Frank Martinez lead off the inning with a double to center field. After a sacrifice bunt put Martinez on third, Kevin Jones hit a groundout producing the tying run, 1-1.
In the bottom of the fourth, with Husky runners on first and second bases, Arnold “Chief” Banuelos drove a fastball to third for a hit, putting the Huskies on top 2-1.
In the bottom of the fifth the Huskies would further extend their lead. The Huskies recorded three consecutive hits, one an RBI hit that put runners on the corners.
A wild pitch by Mt. SAC pitcher Ken Kessell put both runners in scoring position. With the next pitch, Andy Salcido got a two-run hit, pushing the lead to 5-1.
With a 5-1 lead going into the final innings, unlike two days earlier, the Huskies took advantage of Mt. SAC mistakes and pushed the lead even further.
When it was time for the Huskies to go on defense in the eighth, they had a 10-1 lead.
The Huskies scored three more runs in the eighth and once again would look to their bullpen in the ninth. This time the bullpen dominated by striking out the side to end the game 13-1.
“We just needed to get a W. We had a couple of errors on Tuesday and pretty much gave it away on Thursday. It helped the mindset of our guys,” said Hines.
With this win, the Huskies reached .500 with an overall record of 8-8, 1-2 in conference play.
ELAC played Long Beach College yesterday but scores where not available for publication.
ELAC’s next game will be tomorrow against Long Beach College at Cal State L.A at 7 p.m.