In a do or die scenario, the Long Beach City College baseball squad faced elimination twice on Saturday in Southern California Regional Playoffs against the Saddleback College Gauchos. The Vikings were hungry to advance as they earned a pair of victories on the day by the final scores of 5-0 and 5-1, respectfully, to push past the Gauchos and advance to the Super Regionals next weekend.
In the first game of the day, the Vikings acted as the visiting team and got the offensive train chugging early. Freshman second baseman Tyler Wilber (Los Alamitos, CA) put the Vikings on the board first by lacing a two-out single to left field, scoring sophomore shortstop Antonio Monroy (Maywood, CA) to snag an early 1-0 advantage.
That was truly all freshman starter Josh Agnew (Long Beach, CA) needed as he took the hill for his first-career playoff start and 15th on the season. He began his outing my retiring the side in consecutive innings which included four groundball outs and a strikeout swinging to cap the streak of six-straight retired.
Long Beach fed off Agnew's sheer dominance by plating a set of runs in the top of the third inning starting with another RBI-knock from Wilber. Freshman catcher Robert Barham (Long Beach, CA) followed a handful of batters later by drawing a bases-loaded walk to extend the lead to 3-0.
Agnew continued to impress in many facets by retiring the side in order in the bottom of the fourth inning. The fifth inning deemed well as he picked off two base runners – one at first base and one at second base – to keep the Viking's 3-0 lead intact through five and one half innings.
Long Beach added two insurance runs in the top of the ninth inning due to a throwing error and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Monroy en route to a 5-0 victory in game two.
In game two, the Vikings found themselves in an early pitcher's duel with sophomore starter Schuyler Hill (Long Beach, CA) on the mound. Neither team recorded a base hit until the Gauchos broke through in the hit column in the top of the third inning.
However, that was only one of two base hits Hill allowed in his outing as he tossed six innings while sending five batters packing via strikeout.
The Vikings and Gauchos traded runs in the bottom of the third and the top of the fourth, respectfully, but the bats awoke again for Long Beach in the bottom of the fifth inning.
After freshman center fielder Val Stammler (Long Beach, CA) and Monroy reached base via walk and fielder's choice, freshman third baseman Reese Berberet (Fallbrook, CA) stepped up big time by barreling a missile past the Gaucho's shortstop who was playing up on the infield grass in attempt to cut off the run for a two-RBI single, snagging a 3-1 lead.
Hill found himself in trouble in the top of the sixth inning after Saddleback loaded the bases with two outs. However, he wiggled out of a jam by getting Adam Gordon to fly out to left field to keep the 3-1 lead alive.
Freshman closer Chase Ambrose (Long Beach, CA) entered into the game in the top of the seventh inning in hopes for a three-inning save. He started off well by not allowing a hit through his first two innings which included him retiring the Gauchos in order in the top of the eighth inning.
In the bottom of the eighth, Stammler stepped up with two outs in the inning and decided that a three-run lead was not enough. After marginally missing a homerun in his previous at-bat, he sat back and parked a solo shot over the left-field wall to extend the lead to 5-1 entering into the top of the ninth.
Despite a leadoff double to left-center field for Saddleback in the top of the ninth, Ambrose slammed the door for the save en route to a 5-1 win and series victory.
Wilber was a monster at the dish through the two games by going 3-for-6 with a double and two RBI to highlight the performances. Stammler launched his fourth round tripper of the season, while Berberet picked up his 41st and 42nd RBI of the season.
Agnew tossed his second-consecutive complete-game shutout of the season while fanning four batters. He lowered his ERA to 2.19 while earning his ninth win on the season. Hill earned his eight victory of the year and allowed just a pair of hits as well. Ambrose was lights out by picking up his third save in his last five appearances. He boosts his saves total to six on the year.
The Vikings advance to the Super Regionals and will face off against a team to be determined.
Stay tuned to www.lbccvikings for further information.