Former Vaqs heating up at next level

The following are updates on local athletes at the collegiate level.

Scott Hong (Glendale Community College, 2011) junior, Occidental College baseball: Having already singled and stole a base earlier in the game, the Tigers right fielder and No. 3 hitter reached base on a fielder's choice and came around to score the first of two ninth-inning runs, but it wasn't enough in a 4-2 loss to California Lutheran University on Saturday.

Later in the day, Kingsmen won, 7-3, to cap a doubleheader and send the Tigers to their sixth straight loss.

Still, Hong's successful year continues.

He's appeared and started in all 26 of his squad's games and leads the team with 27 runs, eight doubles, three triples, 14 walks and 22 stolen bases. He's also hitting .309 with 19 runs batted in, a .435 on-base percentage and a .521 slugging percentage.

In addition, he's taken on the role of the Tigers' closer, having converted four saves in six appearances and tallying a 2.70 earned run average over 6 2/3 innings.

Oxy (14-12, 9-6 in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) returns to action Friday to begin a three-game conference series against Claremont-Mudd Scripps.

Joe Stephen (Glendale Community College, 2011) junior, Mount Mercy University baseball: A season removed from coming out of the bullpen for the Vaqueros in their state run, Stephen has found success in the starting rotation for the Mustangs.

On Thursday, the Mustangs prevailed, 1-0, in a Midwest Collegiate Conference clash with Waldorf behind a scintillating performance from Stephen, who threw a one-hit shutout. He walked just one batter, while striking out five.

On just three days rest, Stephen tossed another gem Sunday, when he defeated Grand View with 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball, as he struck out eight, walked none and gave up six hits.

The 5-1 victory improved Stephen to 5-3 on the season and Mount Mercy to 16-13 and 5-3 in conference.

Stephen has made eight appearances and started six games with two complete games, a 3.43 earned-run average, 27 strikeouts and 10 walks in 39 1/3 innings pitched. Stephen and Co. travel to Benedictine University for a doubleheader today.

Sako Chapjian (Hoover High, 2008) junior, Cal State Dominguez Hills baseball: Chapjian homered in the eighth-inning on a go-ahead two-run shot, but the Toros still fell, 6-5, against Cal Baptist in 10 innings on Saturday.

Thursday saw the Toros defeat the University of Sioux Falls, 20-7, with Chapjian exploding for four hits, including a pair of doubles, a walk, four runs scored and three driven in. The former Glendale Community College standout is riding a four-game hitting streak in which he's gone eight for 17 eight runs and six RBI.

For the season, in which the Toros are 8-19, Chapjian's hitting .292 with 23 runs, 18 RBI, three homers, nine doubles and 14 walks.

Dominguez Hills hosts Biola today.

Erik Suarez (Glendale Community College, 2011) junior, New Mexico baseball: New Mexico has won five of its last six games to take sole possession of first in the Mountain West Conference at 10-11 overall and 5-1 in conference.

Suarez has gotten his fair share of playing time, appearing in 15 games and starting in 12. The catcher's hitting .222 (10 for 45) with five runs, eight RBI, nine walks and a .352 on-base percentage.

New Mexico hosts Stephen F. Austin in a two-game set beginning today.

Matt Quintana (St. Francis High, 2009) senior, San Francisco State baseball: The former Golden Knight is turning in quite a season at the dish.

The Gators backstop did all he could in a Wednesday loss to San Francisco University, as he went three for five with four runs batted in, but State still lost, 8-7, and fell to 11-12 on the season.

Quintero's seen action in 16 games, with 14 starts and is hitting at a .333 clip with 18 hits in 54 at-bats including four doubles. He's driven in 11 runs.

The Gators play Menlo College today.

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