After winning a three-game conference series against L.A. Harbor this past week, the Long Beach City College baseball team looked to continue their push for second place in the South Coast Conference (SCC) – South division by facing off against the Cerritos College Falcons in the first game of a three-game series. After grabbing an early lead and watching it slip through their fingertips, the Vikings continued to fight and brought home a 4-3 victory in walk off fashion.
Freshman starter Jacob Gregg (Lakewood, CA) took to the rubber for the opening game of the series and performed very well in five innings of work. The freshman only scattered six hits and wiggled his way out of many early-inning jams. It was not an easy road to blank the Falcons through his outing, but Gregg forced them to strand seven runners on base during his five innings of action en route to five strikeouts.
The Vikings scored their first run in the bottom of the first inning after freshman third baseman Reese Berberet (Fallbrook, CA) laced a one-out double down the left-field line, plating freshman left fielder Val Stammler (Long Beach, CA) who reached base via single in the first at-bat of the game.
Stammler continued to swing the bat well in the bottom of the fourth inning by barreling a double to left-center field to score freshman catcher Robert Barham (Long Beach, CA) who found himself on third base after sending a stand-up triple to the right-center gap. The Vikings held a 2-0 lead after four full innings of play.
However, the Falcons worked to tie the contest up at 2-2 following a bases-loaded single to put the game back into anyone's hands.
The Vikings remained poised the following half inning as freshman second baseman Tyler Wilber (Los Alamitos, CA) led off the inning with a walk. Sophomore designated hitter Jared Mayeda (Cypress, CA) advance him to second base with a sacrifice bunt followed by a single from freshman third baseman Chase Ambrose (Long Beach, CA) to set up first and third with one out. Barham stepped into the batter's box and laid down a beautiful suicide squeeze play, scoring Wilber and grabbing a 3-2 lead.
Cerritos clutched up in the top of the eighth inning and launched a solo shot over the left-field wall bringing the score to a 3-3 tie leading into the bottom of the eighth inning.
After being unable to score the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth inning, it was up to sophomore reliever Cesar Gomez (Long Beach, CA) to keep the score at a standstill in the top of the ninth. He did just that by striking out the side leading into the bottom of the ninth.
The Vikings quickly found themselves with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the ninth inning. Freshman center fielder Zach Martinez (Lakewood, CA) grounded a ball to the Cerritos' third baseman and he rushed an errant throw to home plate, allowing freshman pinch runner Ian Konek (Long Beach, CA) to score and hand the Vikings a 4-3 victory.
Gomez (2-1) picked up the win after chucking a scoreless top of the ninth and striking out the side.
Stammler paced the squad by going 2-for-4 with an RBI-double and a run scored, while Barham picked up the other RBI on a 1-for-4 showing. Martinez clocked two hits as well.
The Vikings (14-11-1, 7-5 SCC) will continue conference action in the second game of the three-game series against Cerritos on Thursday, March 30th at 2:30 p.m. on the road.