By Alfonso Rivera and Carlos Alvarez
The Husky baseball team culminated a three game sweep in the South Coast Conference against Cerritos College, taking over sole possession of second place.
The Huskies, 18-15 overall and 12-6 in SCC play, have a one-game SCC lead over El Camino College and Compton Educational Center.
The Huskies have won five in a row and are ranked 18th in the SoCal poll. El Camino (24-9, 11-7) is ranked No. 7. Compton (19-14, 11-7) is ranked No. 18.
The three game sweep over the Falcons began with the Huskies winning a 6-2 victory at home on April 17 followed by a 7-2 drubbing at Cerritos, April 19.
The Huskies ended the series with a 3-2 home victory.
Huskies earn close win over Cerritos
The Huskies finished the sweep leaving the Falcons on the field with a 3-2 walk-off victory last Saturday.
The Huskies bats went quiet after taking an early two run lead in the bottom of the third inning on a Manuel Estevez clutch hit.
The Falcons offense didn’t fare much better against Husky starting pitcher Elias Novelo. Novelo went 5 1/3 scoreless innings allowing four hits in the no decision.
Cerritos tied the game in the top of the eighth off of Husky reliever Martin Valdez.
Husky Gabriel Aldrete came in to minimize the damage by getting the last out in the on a ground out to second baseman Ruben Ramirez.
Bullpen workhorse Aldrete pitched a scoreless top of the ninth to set up a late Husky rally.
The Huskies’ heroics used small ball to manufacture the winning run in the bottom of the ninth.
Robert Gonzalez led off the inning with a single and was sacrificed to second by Estevez.
The following batter, Walter Aguilar, was intentionally walked bringing up center fielder Andrew Gutierrez up to bat.
Gutierrez laced a game winning single, scoring Gonzalez from second with the winning run, completing the three game sweep of the Falcons.
Huskies get 6-2 win over Falcons
ELAC got a great pitching performance by Christian Madrid in the first game of the series.
Madrid pitched a complete game giving up two runs (one earned) while allowing seven hits and striking out six Falcons in the victory.
Madrid’s only tough inning was in the top of the third inning. After getting two quick outs Madrid surrendered a single to Chris Hefner who then stole second.
The next batter for the Falcons was Cesar Castillo who singled sharply, scoring Hefner from second base with the first run.
Castillo scored the second run in that inning on an errant throw by Husky third baseman Michael Aguilar.
Madrid got the final out in that inning and cruised the rest of the game.
Trailing 2-1 after three complete innings, the Husky offense took control adding a run in the fourth and fifth innings each.
Ahead 3-2, the offense put the game away with three runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Armando Lomeli started the inning with a single and advanced to second after Ramirez drew a walk.
Ernie Aguilera sacrificed both runners bringing up Gonzalez with the runners in scoring position.
Gonzalez drilled a single up the middle scoring Lomeli and Ramirez increasing the Husky lead, 5-2.
Gonzalez then stole second. The Huskies added one more run on a single by Estevez. “We battled back and we played a good team game,” Estevez.
Huskies pound out hits for 7-2 win
In the second game of the series the Husky offense continued their consistency collecting 12 total hits in the game.
Kyle Peralta reached safely three of four times at bat, collecting three singles and adding a run batted in.
The big blow against the Falcons came in the top of the ninth inning. Estevez added a two run home run, scoring Aguilera, increasing the Husky lead to 7-2.
“I got a great pitch to hit and drove it. I have a different approach every time I come to bat,” Estevez said.
The pitching has been consistent all year. Juan Vera followed Madrid’s great performance with a gem of his own.
Vera (5-3) pitched 7 2/3 innings allowing two runs (1 earned) on five hits while striking out two in the victory.
Vera was relieved by sophomore Greg Aldrete after allowing a run in the bottom of the eighth.
Greg Aldrete was lights out striking out three of the four batters he faced getting the save. “I try to go after hitters and throw strikes,” relief pitcher Aldrete said after the game.
“We need to focus on the next game versus getting the sweep,” Head Coach Hines responded when asked about a possible sweep.
The Huskies close out the regular season against Los Angeles Harbor City College (12-21, 6-12) with the only home game in the series today at 2:30 p.m. at Cal State Los Angeles.
“The is the most important series of the year,” Estevez said when asked about how every game against Harbor has possible playoff implications.
“We won’t overlook Harbor. We are too good a team to do that,” added Estevez.
Hines’s Huskies are poised for a playoff run. The winning streak stands at five games.