Right-hander Louis Birdt, making his first start for Pierce College, was only expected to go six innings Thursday. Anything beyond would be a bonus for the beleaguered Brahma pitching staff.
Birdt not only lasted six innings, he went the distance against a solid-hitting Valley College lineup.
Unfortunately for Pierce, sophomore right-hander Tim DeGrasse of Valley also went the distance in pitching the Monarchs to a 3-1 Western State Conference victory at Pierce.
Valley took advantage of walks for all of its runs. The Monarchs took a 1-0 lead in the first on E. J. Pape’s run-scoring single after Birdt gave up two walks with two out. In the fourth, Eric Vargas and John Stephens drew walks and Ray Sabado hit a ground-rule double to score Vargas. Valley’s last run came in the fifth on Mike Caputi’s run-scoring ground out.
Pierce scored its only run in the sixth when Doug Johus walked and eventually scored on a wild pitch.
The victory, coupled with Canyons’ 20-9 win over Oxnard, gives Valley (17-2-1, 5-1 in conference play) sole possession of first place in the WSC.
While Birdt (two strikeouts, six walks) did not win, he succeeded in earning a place in the Brahma rotation.
“I was extremely impressed with him,” Pierce Coach Bob Lyons said. “The question now is, ‘Can he come back and pitch this well in a couple of days?’ We will have to wait and see what happens to his arm.”
Even though Valley collected 11 hits, Birdt kept the Brahmas (6-9, 2-4) close by frustrating Valley with his sinking fastball. “He did a heck of a job,” Valley Coach Chris Johnson said. “We come in here 16-2 and he throws a good game against us. That says a lot about the kid.”
DeGrasse (5-0), who has allowed two earned runs in 37 innings, was even more impressive. He gave up 10 hits, including two doubles, struck out six and walked two.