Baseball Sweeps Glendale Vaqueros And Advance To Regional Finals

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After steamrolling past the first round of the postseason, Mt. SAC Baseball showed no signs of letting up, sweeping the visiting Glendale College Vaqueros with a 5-4 win in game one on Friday, May 11, while taking game two 8-5 on Saturday, May 12.

Glendale was coming off a three-game series win against Pasadena City College in the opening playoff round despite dropping the first game, and booked a date with the defending South Coast Conference Champion Mounties in the following round.

With Mason Corneliussen on the mound to start things off in game one, Mt. SAC’s defense kept the Vaqueros off the scoreboard through the first three innings.

Mt. SAC Baseball pitcher Mason Corneliussen at Mazmanian Field on Friday, May 11. Photo Credit: Mychal Corbin @shotstotheheart

In the bottom of the first, South Coast Conference MVP Elijah Greene scored on a sacrifice fly by Michael Sandoval to give the Mounties an early 1-0 lead.

From there, Glendale’s Anthony Robles locked it up on the mound for the visitors, finishing with five strikeouts for the night while the Vaqueros offense began to capitalize on the Mounties in the fourth.

With two outs, Jacob Gribbin scored for Glendale as Jake Selco stole second base. Konner Piotto then singled towards left field to bring Selco home and give the Vaqueros a 2-1 lead.

Lucas Sakay and Piotto added two runs to the lead before Thad Wilson hit a fly ball for the final out.

As the Mounties regrouped, Nic Sandoval answered back with a single to centerfield, scoring in Quinn Cotter in the bottom of the fifth.

Dexter Wilkerson replaced Robles after the run with a 4-2 lead and matched against Corneliussen until Matt Garcia came on for Mt. SAC in the top of the ninth to keep Glendale from producing any runs.

Mt. SAC Baseball’s Brandon Bradshaw scores a run against Glendale College at Mazmanian Field on Friday, May 11. Photo Credit: Hernandez Coke/SAC.Media

Down 4-2 in the bottom of the inning with a last opportunity to mount a comeback, Brandon Bradshaw scored off Cotter’s double to left field, which brought the Mounties within one.

Anthony Walters came in to pinch hit for Dino Miranda but was intentionally walked and later substituted by Derek Zavala as a pinch runner.

With the key chess pieces in place, Elijah Zaragoza hit a two-run double of a lifetime towards left field, scoring Cotter and Zavala while completing the stunning comeback for the Mounties in game one.

“Off the bat I knew I got it good. I was hoping I get it in the gap and it ended up happening. I figured we scored and we did. It was a good feeling,” Zaragoza said on his game winning at-bat. “You can have the worst game up until the last hit and you can get that one and win the game for everybody.”

“We were trying to win, trying to do whatever it takes to get a win and fortunately for us we got a win today.” Mounties head coach John Knott said after the game. “Hopefully we gain some momentum from this and make it tough on them.”

Making it tough on the Vaqueros proved to be a tall order as the visitors looked to extend the series to a decisive game three.

Jacob Kampen on the mound for the Mounties kept Glendale at bay until Sakay hit a massive triple in the second.

Piotto then laced a single up the middle to drive in Sakay for the first run of game two during the bottom of the second inning.

The Mounties answered back in the top of the third when Greene slugged a home run over the right field wall to tie things up.

Mt. SAC Baseball’s Elijah Greene scores a home run against Glendale College at Mazmanian Field on Saturday, May 12. Photo Credit: Hernandez Coke/SAC.Media

“My uncle called me today and he told me to keep it simple, and just breathe. Good things are going to happen when you make solid contact,” Greene said crediting his uncle with his bounce back.

Despite the massive homer, Glendale kept applying pressure on the Mt. SAC defense, scoring three runs in the bottom of the third.

Left fielder Tom Tabak drove in Troy Viola and Gribbin scored off of an error by Bradshaw. Tabak then scored on a sacrifice fly by Selco and the Vaqueros ended the inning up 4-1.

Garcia came on the mound for Kampen in the bottom of the fourth and had an outstanding performance as he pitched four innings and a third, giving up only one hit.

As the Mt. SAC defense began locking it down, the Mounties began their assault and scored in the top of the sixth after Michael Sandoval ripped a double down the line to bring home Ryon Knowles.

Mt. SAC Baseball’s Michael Sandoval scores a run against Glendale College at Mazmanian Field on Saturday, May 12. Photo Credit: Hernandez Coke/SAC.Media

Michael Sandoval scored after catcher Chris Sandberg followed up with a single up the middle, bringing Mt. SAC within one.

“I was just thinking of hitting the ball through the middle, guessed inside fastball and I got that. I got jammed a bit but I punched it through,” Sandberg said on his massive at-bat.

The Mounties loaded the bases in the top of the seventh inning, setting up Michael Sandoval to work the count to 3-0 and draw a walk to tie the game, 4-4.

With Mounties on all bases, Cotter hit a single and drove in a run. Manny Galvan then scored off a wild pitch and Sandberg drove in Cotter off a massive single to put the Mounties up 7-4.

Cotter added an insurance run in the top of the ninth with a single that brought Miranda home.

In the bottom of the inning, Glendale’s Mitchell Rathbun flied out to centerfield to score in Sakay.

Needing one more out, while facing runners at first and third, along with the game-tying run at the plate, Mt. SAC pitcher Steven Ordorica was able to ultimately close out the Vaqueros in game two.

Mt. SAC Baseball pitcher Steven Ordorica at Mazmanian Field on Saturday, May 12. Photo Credit: Hernandez Coke/SAC.Media

“I’m really proud of this group, to endure what we have and to persevere after falling behind. They had their number one out there today so it was tough, but our guys chipped away and stepped up,” Knott said after the climactic end to the series.

Nine Mounties recorded hits as Mt. SAC recorded 15 hits on the day. Sandberg and Greene both went 3-5 and contributed to the scoring effort.

“We tried to keep it simple and not try to do too much. I thought our guys did a great job of trying to go the other way and continuously made adjustments. It was good to see,” Knott said.

With the win, the fourth seed Mounties advance to the Southern California Regional Finals for the first time since 2013, where they will face third seed Saddleback College.

Saddleback College in Mission Viejo is set to host the Southern California Regional Finals at Doug Fritz Field, with game one on Friday, May 18 at 2 p.m. and game two on Saturday, May 19 at 1 p.m.

Game three will be played if necessary on Sunday, May 20, with first pitch a noon.

With a trip to the State Championships on the line, the stakes are as high as ever.