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WSC baseball: Shanahan’s strong day softens blow

Cougars left fielder hits walk-off two-run single, but COC misses postseason

Posted: April 29, 2010 11:00 p.m.
Updated: April 30, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 
The College of the Canyons baseball team went into its final game of the season on Thursday, hoping to get a win and a chance to go after its third straight Western State Conference championship.

The Cougars got the win, but it wasn't enough to get them a title or into the Southern California Regional playoffs.

COC left fielder Kenny Shanahan helped to take the sting out of the last game by hitting a walk-off two-run single in a 15-14 win against Citrus College at Cougar Field on Thursday.

Having lost five of their last six games, the Cougars were in third place heading into the day and needed a Bakersfield loss to earn a play-in game for the conference playoffs.

But the Renegades beat Los Angeles Valley College 18-8 on Thursday, ending COC's season.

That didn't stop Shanahan from providing the excitement.

Trailing 14-13 in the bottom of the ninth with bases loaded and two outs, Shanahan knocked in two runs with his hit to right-center field.

"As a college athlete, it's something you dream about - being in the position to help your team win," he said. "I knew it would be a fastball and I just wanted to make contact."

It was the second time that Shanahan came up big in the game, having hit a two-run home run in the eighth inning that shifted momentum back to the Cougars (18-16, 12-9) and brought COC within one run of Citrus at 14-13.

The Owls had taken a 14-8 lead earlier.

The game resembled COC's season, with the Cougars jumping ahead, squandering their lead and coming back.

COC jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning, which expanded to 8-0 by the end of the second, highlighted by Sean Sweeney's solo home run.

Citrus (19-17,9-12) scored one run in the third and fifth innings to cut the lead to 8-2 heading into the sixth inning.

In the sixth inning, the Cougars fell apart, throwing four different pitchers at the Owls, who scored nine runs and off 14 at-bats.
After giving up five hits, committing three errors and walking four batters, COC trailed 11-8.

The Owls added three more runs in the eight inning to extend their lead to 14-8.

Cougars Robert Vickers, Hugo Hernandez and Cal Vogelsang loaded the bases before an error on Tyler Pugmire fly ball to right scored two runs to close the gap to 14-10.

Jeremy Weber grounded out, scoring Vogelsang and bringing up Shanahan with the Cougars trailing 14-11.

"(Shanahan's) last two at-bats were huge," said COC head coach Chris Cota. "He had a great approach on an away pitch and put it in right-center."

Afterward, the Citrus players and coaches didn't seem like they were in the mood to discuss the outcome.

"We battled back after being down early, but mistakes killed us late in the game," said Citrus assistant coach Eric Agajanian.

Cougars pitcher Troy Neiman got the win and Citrus' Justin Grijalva took the loss, with both appearing in one inning of relief.

But Shanahan remained happy to end the season on a high note.

"I couldn't have asked for a better way to go out," he said.


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