APTOS — Tuesday’s meeting between the Cabrillo College Seahawks and the Canada College Colts was supposed to be a clash of the best the Coast Conference Pacific division had to offer.
Two 4-0 teams. Two lights out pitchers. A battle for first place.
Instead, the Seahawks turned the game into a blowout, beating the visiting Colts 8-1 behind 15 hits and a stellar performance from starting pitcher John Briedenthal.
After losing six straight games, the Seahawks (15-8, 5-0) have won eight of their last nine, including seven straight.
“Our offense is starting to lock in and pitching is throwing strikes,” said Cabrillo sophomore shortstop Scott Akrop. “We pretty much feed off our pitching so when ever pitching is going well our offense goes.”
Cabrillo jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning and with the help of Briedenthal the Seahawks never looked back.
The right-handed sophomore pitcher kept the Colts (8-13, 4-1) off balance through out his seven innings of work with his change up, two-seam fastball and slider. He allowed six hits and walked two.
Briedenthal has not allowed a run in the last 36 innings.
He said he wasn’t all there mechanically on Tuesday, “but I just had to work the strike zone and let my defense work behind me,” he said. “My defense played fantastic today. I owe a lot of the credit to them.”
Cabrillo’s infield did not commit one error and indeed bailed out Briedenthal when needed.
In the third inning Canada had runners on second and third with two outs. Drew Gray made solid contact and roped the ball toward left field but Akrop leapt and snagged it out of the air and keep the shutout intact.
Again, the Colts had a pair of runners in scoring position with two outs in the following inning but Briedenthal pitched to contact and his infield made the play, as sophomore second baseman Jordan Peabody wrangled up the ground ball and threw to first to get out of the inning.
Briedenthal and the Seahawks’ defense stranded eight Canada runners on base.
When Cabrillo had runners in scoring position they brought them in.
In the first inning freshman catcher Nick Ciandro hit an RBI double to start the scoring and later came around to make it 2-0 on a Tony Stanich RBI single.
Cabrillo added two more in the second, fifth and sixth inning.
The Colts finally found the scoreboard in the eighth but by then it was too late to form a comeback.
Sophomore designated hitter Zane Gelphman was 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a scored run. Ciandro was also 3-for-4 with two doubles, two scored runs and an RBI. Freshman third baseman Zach Thibault went 2-for-4 with a scored run and an RBI. Akrop hit a triple and knocked in a run.
Cabrillo’s season so far has resembled a roller coaster. The Seahawks started off impressively with a 7-1 record but fell into a deep six-game slump in which they averaged just a little over three runs a game while surrendering nearly eight.
Gelphman said the turnaround came during a practice toward the end of their losing streak.
“It’s been kind of a tale of two seasons,” Gelphman said. “We had a good start and then a rough patch right in the middle. Now we’ve kind of righted the ship.”
He added: “Everyone’s mentality has just changed.”
Cabrillo will look to continue its streak and create an even bigger cushion in the Pacific division standings Thursday in a rematch against Canada in Redwood City at 2:30 p.m.