Vallejo breaks Whittier College single season hits record at 69; Poets fall 9-8 in the ninth
Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
WHITTIER, Calif. – The Whittier College baseball team was unable to hold onto their 8-2 lead going into the ninth as Occidental rallied to add six runs in the top half of the inning to cling to a one run victory.
The Poets wrap up their 2011-12 season in 5th place in the SCIAC standings, two spots ahead of where they finished last season. This year they finished 21-17, 15-13 SCIAC posting their first winning season in five years.
But the big milestone of the day belonged to senior captain Andrew Vallejo who came into the game needing one hit to tie the Whittier College record for hits in a single season, which was 68. By the end of the day he finished with two hits for a total of 69 for a season placing him atop the Whittier College All-Time single season hits list.
Prior to the start of the game head coach Mike Rizzo recognized his twelve seniors who were playing in their final game of their collegiate careers. These seniors included:
- Pete Mitchell
- Cory Goodchild
- Taylor Fallon
- Andrew Pigott
- Andrew Vallejo
- Austin Nogueira
- Tyler Bogart
- Casey Serna
- Nick Amicone
- Austin Straus
- Ryan Schwenn
- Mike Rueda
Whittier got things started in the game plating four runs in the first inning. Corey Jensen led off the rally with a single and was followed by a Goodchild double. Straus then sacrificed in Jensen with a deep fly ball and was followed by back to back doubles from Amicone and P. Mitchell and two singles from Bogart and Josh Genzuk.
The Poets didn't stop there as they put another three runs across the plate in the bottom half of the third sparked by a Straus double to left center and two singles from brothers P. Mitchell and Alex Mitchell.
But the Tigers didn't go away and began chipping away at the Poet lead adding two runs in the fifth after Salsedo and Aldape each doubled.
After the Poets added an insurance run in the sixth behind a Vallejo double, the wheels came unhitched in the ninth for the Purple & Gold as Occidental rallied to add six runs on three hits that put them ahead 9-8 for the first time. Mike Rizzo threw three pitchers in the ninth and senior closer Rueda was charged with his third loss of the season after he threw 1.0 inning giving up two hits.
Whittier rallied in the bottom half of the ninth though led off by an Amicone single through the left side. P. Mitchell then sacrificed him over into scoring position and on the ensuing at bat Richard Acosta advanced to third (who had pinch ran for Amicone) after Bogart grounded out to second. Then with two outs and the tying run 90 feet away Genzuk came up and went down swinging stopping the Poet rally short.
Starting pitcher Fallon went 7.1 innings and gave up two earned runs on 11 hits, while striking out seven getting the no decision. He finishes the season 4-3.
Whittier was led on offense by P. Mitchell who finished 2-3 with two runs scored and two runs batted in, while Amicone finished 3-5 with two runs and an RBI.