Pierce Gets Unexpected Bonus from Harris' Bat in 6-4 Victory


Josh Harris more than carries his weight as shortstop for Pierce College. Yet, at 5 feet 7, 150 pounds, Harris hardly cuts an imposing figure in the batter's box.

The Brahmas' No. 9 hitter didn't figure on taking many deciding cuts this season. But Harris did Saturday, smacking a fourth-inning, two-run triple to highlight a four-run rally that carried Pierce to a 6-4 victory over Oxnard in a Western State Conference interdivision game at Pierce.

Harris drove in Alfredo Saenz and Dave Lusk to give Pierce (11-10, 6-6 in conference play) a 4-3 lead after Oxnard had taken a 3-1 lead against ace left-hander Barry Zito.

"He plays really fine shortstop," Pierce Coach Bob Lofrano said of Harris. "Any offense from him is a plus."

Harris fell behind in the count, 0-2, then drove left-hander Tom Manos' next pitch off the right-field fence.

"I said to myself, 'Come through for the team,' " Harris said. "It's a great feeling, getting the clutch hit."

Harris scored on an infield single by Greg Venger to cap the rally. Seth Barkley added a home run in the seventh inning to complete the scoring and give Pierce its eighth hit.

"We got the clutch hits today and that's what we've been missing," Lofrano said. "It's a matter of just keep plugging away. That's what baseball is."

Zito (5-1), who struck out seven and walked one in six innings, wasn't at his best. Oxnard (15-5, 8-2), which had its winning streak stopped at eight games, tagged the sophomore left-hander for three hits and two runs in the third. Matt Pesso doubled and scored on a triple by Brent Egan. Egan scored on an infield error.

In the fourth, Matt Pitstick hit a solo home run to right field to give Oxnard a 3-1 lead. In the sixth, Kevin Mellinger lofted a sacrifice fly to drive in Shawn Fossen and pull Oxnard to within 5-4.

Zito, a transfer from UC Santa Barbara, allowed five hits.

Pierce's rally in the fourth was sustained when center fielder Mellinger lost Saenz' deep fly in the sun. The ball grazed off Mellinger's glove, with Saenz taking second and Barry Matthews scoring from second for the inning's first run.

"The whole thing turned around on that sun ball," Oxnard Coach Pat Woods said. "We had opportunities to tie the game up but we didn't."

Matthews moved from first base to the mound and pitched three scoreless innings, striking out two, to notch his first save.

Matthews retired Egan on a fly ball with Brett Scott at third to end the seventh. In the eighth, Matthews retired Jess Sanchez on a fly ball with two out and runners at first and second.

"I like the role I have on this team," Matthews said. "I don't mind closing the game. That's a lot of fun for me."

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World