GLENDALE — The teams combined for eight home runs, three doubles and a triple, so it figured somebody would clobber one over the fence to decide the see-saw baseball battle between Citrus and Glendale colleges Thursday at Stengel Field.
It took a chopper through a drawn-in infield by designated hitter Tom Rochin in the bottom of the eighth inning to score two runs and give Glendale a 13-12 victory in a 3 1/2-hour Western State Conference Southern Division game.
"I was looking to hit it the other way or go up the middle," said Rochin, a left-handed sophomore from Arcadia High. "I was able to get the bat on the ball."
The Vaqueros (29-10, 19-6 in conference play) clinched a tie for first place in the division, moving one game ahead of second-place Citrus (28-9, 18-7) and securing a higher seeding than the Owls for the playoffs by virtue of their 3-0 record in head-to-head games.
Glendale and Citrus conclude the regular season with a 1 p.m. game Saturday at Citrus.
"We got part of the championship and that takes the pressure off," first-year Glendale Coach Jon Strauss said.
Citrus, and center fielder Adam Summerell in particular, applied plenty of pressure by taking a 5-2 lead after 2 1/2 innings and a 9-5 advantage after 4 1/2 innings.
Summerell, a preseason All-American, had three home runs and two singles to almost single-handedly lift the Owls. His two-run shot to left-center field against right-hander Kevin Welch in the second inning put Citrus ahead, 3-2.
He belted solo home runs in the fifth and seventh innings, the latter snapping an 11-11 tie. Summerell has seven home runs.
But Glendale had five home runs, including two by left fielder Evan Shahak. His first came with the bases empty and two out in the first inning after Jimmy Stone led off the inning with a home run against right-hander Javier Robles.
Shahak, who has a team-leading 15 home runs, smacked his second of the afternoon with Fernando Valenzuela on base in the third inning to pull Glendale within 5-4. The Vaqueros tied the score, 5-5, later in the inning on a groundout by Brandon Bell that scored John Manuel from third.
Right fielder Matt Friedrichsen's three-run home run to left-center field with two out in the sixth tied the score, 11-11.
Shahak led off with a walk in the eighth, moved to second on Manuel's sacrifice bunt and to third on Friedrichsen's double off the right-field fence against Jeremy Mummert (1-1), who pitched to only one batter.
Rochin followed with his bouncer off of Sean Tracey.
Vic Herrera (3-1) pitched a perfect eighth inning and Ivan Lopez earned his sixth save by retiring the side in the ninth.