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Canyons Can't Get Any Relief and Pierce Gets 9-7 Victory

Baseball: Barkley hits a three-run home run with two out in the ninth inning and Brahmas beat Cougars for the fourth time in five games.


VALENCIA — Three pitching changes in the ninth inning by College of the Canyons couldn't prevent a five-run rally by Pierce that proved decisive in a 9-7 Western State Conference South Division victory Saturday at Canyons.

Seth Barkley hit a wind-blown three-run home run with two out off right-hander Wayne Mahaffey to cap the rally and break a 6-6 tie.

Pierce (20-14, 13-9 in conference play) has beaten Canyons (23-13, 14-9) four times in five games this season.

Canyons left-hander Jeremy Shields survived until the ninth despite allowing four runs in the first three innings.

After the third, Shields, who entered with a 7-1 record, held the Brahmas scoreless and allowed just two hits until the ninth.

"They've done that all year," Pierce Coach Bob Lofrano said of his team. "Shields threw a great game. We just did it in the ninth."

Shields allowed a one-out single to Greg Venger in the ninth and was removed by Coach Len Mohney--a move that became a turning point.

"He's been tired all year late," a dejected Mohney said. "And he threw on Monday. Anything can happen. It's a real rough loss for us."

Shields' exit triggered a parade of pitchers, all of whom allowed runners to reach base.

Right-hander Chris Baker (4-5), who replaced Shields, hit a batter, allowed a walk and a single before yielding to Mike Preski.

Preski recorded the second out on a fielder's choice and gave way to Mahaffey with runners at the corners.

Barkley, who hit a two-run home run in the first inning, swung at Mahaffey's first pitch and the drive cleared the fence a few feet inside the right-field foul pole.

Barkley hit a three-run homer at Canyons April 15 to contribute to a 16-3 victory.

"[Shields] was pitching a good game and we kind of struggled a little bit," said Barkley, who leads Pierce with nine home runs. "But we're a good ninth-inning team. We put pressure on them and had a chance to win."

Canyons roughed up ace left-hander Barry Zito, collecting 10 hits, including a two-run home run by Jesse Daggett in the first inning. Daggett, who leads the WSC with 13 home runs, had four hits and drove in four runs.

Pierce led, 4-2, after a solo home run by Danny Phillips in the third. Canyons pulled even in the third on a sacrifice fly by Cory Briggs and run-scoring single by Daggett.

Zito exited after the seventh with Canyons ahead, 6-4.

"We thought we had a real good plan against Zito," Mohney said. "We played a good game. But that doesn't matter."

Canyons took a 5-4 lead in the sixth on a run-scoring ground out by Sergio Franco. In the seventh, Daggett's two-out single with a runner at third extended Canyons' lead to 6-4.

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