Aguilar’s brilliance in relief and clutch hitting gets Mountain Lions their first win of season3 min read

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Mathew Bejarano

The De Anza infield walk back to the dugout after getting out of the second inning. The Mountain Lions would win a 8-7 thriller on Feb. 1.

Mathew Bejarano, Reporter

After losing their first three games to start the season, the De Anza baseball team picked up their first win in a thrilling fashion. 

The Mountain Lions had their best offensive game of the season to beat City College of San Francisco 8-7 on Feb. 1.

“It’s nice to be in a familiar environment and be surrounded by friends and family that can come out to the games,” said designated hitter Michael Pacheco. “I think that’s what also helped keep us in this game when it  got tough.”

From the start of the game, De Anza Manager Don Watkins implemented a strategy of aggressive base running in order to set the tone early. His first bet came up bust when first baseman Aaron Marquez was sent home from first base only to be tagged out. Despite that early miscue, the Mountain Lions would go on to steal three bases, two of which came courtesy of center fielder Jaime Blanco.

 Relief pitcher Armando Aguilar took over for De Anza’s starter Ryan O’Charchin in the third inning with De Anza down 1-0. He came into the game having only allowed one run on three hits with three strikeouts. 

He retired the third and fourth innings without giving up a single hit but then ran into some trouble after loading the bases with no outs in the sixth inning. Before things could get worse, Aguilar then got out of the inning by forcing a fielder’s choice and two pop ups. 

“It (looks) like he’s playing a video game,” said Watkins. “He keeps the hitters off balance even though he doesn’t have a high velocity. He just spots the ball well and does his job.”

De Anza’s offense would have their most productive inning in the eighth, scoring four runs off of three hits leaving the frame up 7-2. With aggressive base running, both center fielder Jaime Blanco and left fielder Anthony Di Vittorio would steal second and eventually score, capping off De Anza’s four run inning.

De Anza second baseman Jarret Chapman watched from the on deck circle. (Mathew Bejarano)

In stunning fashion, the Rams would respond by scoring four runs of their own in the bottom of the eighth cutting their deficit to a single run.

In the top of the ninth, De Anza second baseman Jarret Chapman led off  with a double that became another run when designated hitter Michale Pacheco hit a clutch single giving the Mountain Lions a two run cushion heading into save territory.

“That pitch was kind of down the middle and I just made the most of my opportunities,” Pacheco said. “That’s what I try to do when I get into the box, help the team.”“

In the final frame, City College of San Francisco responded with another run of their own off of a double but could not get over the hump, eventually losing by one.

Despite being the away team, the Mountain Lions were finally able to play on their home field for the first time this season. City College of San Francisco doesn’t have a designated field so they served as the home team.

De Anza looks to make it two in a row against Laney College for their first official home game this Saturday Feb. 5.