BY RENE ESCOBAR
Play ball! Aztec baseball is back, looking forward to the new year putting behind a 30-26 season.
With a new year, comes new opportunities. The Aztecs are looking for success in a stout freshman class and the leadership of the second-year returners.
Hall of Fame head coach Rich Alday says the team is “getting better” day by day at practice. The Aztecs will host their first game of the 2018 season Jan. 26 at West Campus on Jan. 26.
Jan. 26, Game 1: New Mexico Military Institute Broncos 2, Pima CC Aztecs 0
The first game of the 2018 season was one to forget as the Aztecs managed just one hit for the game. However, the brightest part of their game was the pitching as Sophomore Jose Contreras threw five shutout innings with no walks.
Game 2: Pima CC Aztecs 4, New Mexico Military Institute Broncos 3
The Aztecs wouldn’t go down easy in game two of the double- header, as Freshman Enrique Porchas came up big with a walk off RBI giving head coach Rich Alday his 497th win as the Aztecs coach.
Freshman pitcher Thomas Garcia played clutch, pitching two innings and allowing zero runs while striking out two.
Jan. 27, Game 1: Pima CC Aztecs 3, New Mexico Military Institute Broncos 2
In a hard-fought battle with the Broncos, the Aztecs relied on the leadership of Sophomore Logan Klunder, w. Who went 2 for 3 and 1 RBI to help the Aztecs snag the win. Coach Alday says, “He (Klunder) does a good job, as one of our many leaders,.” Alday said.
Klunder acknowledged that his vocal leadership on the field, “Keeps everyone focused, so we don’t get side- tracked.”
Game 2: Pima CC Aztecs 8, New Mexico Military Institute Broncos 4
In Game 2, the bats came alive for the Aztecs as they brought in 4 runs in the fifth inning to push the lead to a comfortable five-run deficit.
Sophomore Jesus Solis finished 2 of 4 with t3hree RBIs while Klunder went 3 for 5 and 1 RBI.
Jan. 30, Game 1: Pima CC 6, U Of A Club Team 1.
The Aztecs were back in action, with win number 500 on the line for head coach Rich Alday. The players delivered by bringing in six runs and keeping the opposition in check allowing one run for the game.
Alday coumarates 500 saying, “Every time you win it feels good, what’s so nice is that my players are getting better every day.”
Game 2: Pima CC 15, UA Club Team 5, (6 Innings Mercy Rule)
The Aztecs offense exploded in the second inning of the second game with a five-run spurt.
To start the game Sophomore Martin Garcia hit a three-run double to get the Aztecs on the board. The fireworks continued in the third as Freshman Enrique Porchas hit the first team homerun in the third.
Garcia finished 1 for 2 with five RBIs, Sophomore Logan Klunder ended going 2 for 2 with 2 RBIs.
Feb. 2, Game 1. Pima CC 9, El Paso CC 6.
The offense came alive in the first game of the double header against El Paso Community College. Sophomore Marcus Mendez went 5 for 8 with six RBIs overall in both games.
Freshman Mathew Hackman finished 4 for 9 with three RBIs. Hackman got two of his three RBIs in the first game as a part of the monstrous fifth inning to propel the Aztecs to a win.
Game 2. Pima CC 8, El Paso CC 11.
Down early the Aztecs showed resilience in the third inning rallying from a 4-0 deficit. In the ninth the Aztecs rallied again as Mendez added two more RBIs but the comeback was short losing 11-8.
Freshman Michael Wong had a rough day on the mound giving up seven earned runs on 10 hits as he pitched two And two-third innings.
Feb. 3, Game 1. Pima CC 2, El Paso CC 0
Freshman Adam Moraga lead the way to victory for the Aztecs, as he pitched a complete game retiring four with one walk and zero runs. Fellow Freshman Rafael Padilla sparked the offense going 2 for 3 with an RBI.
Game 2. Pima CC 7, El Paso CC 2.
Sophomore Troy Gutbub not to be out done by the freshman struck out 10 in five and two-third innings.
The freshman led the way in the first game the sophomores led the second, as Sophomore Juan Durazo was perfect at the plate hitting 2 for 2 while brining in two RBIs.
The team now sits at 8-2 with conference play starting against Scottsdale Community College on Feb.10 in Scottsdale.