The seventh-seeded Hawks kept up their winning ways in the opening round of the Northern California Regional Playoffs, sweeping tenth-seeded College of the Sequoias at American River College in a best-of-three series on May 5 and 6.
Freshman pitcher Nick Smart started game one for the Hawks. The left-hander threw eight-plus innings in a five-strikeout performance.
Smart nearly pitched a complete game, but was pulled with one out in the ninth inning after throwing 107 pitches.
Smart credited his defense for his win in the pivotal first game.
“That was all defense today helping me,” Smart said to the Sacramento Bee. “We have the best defense in the league, hands down…”
Freshman pitcher Blake Harrison relieved Smart and induced a double play to seal the 5-1 victory for the Hawks.
Sophomore outfielder Colby Brenner came up big for the Hawks in game two of the series, hitting a three-run double in the second inning.
Freshman pitcher Austin Ales, who was CRC’s Student-Athlete of the Month for April, tossed a complete-game seven-hitter and carried the Hawks to a 7-3 victory.
The pressure of the playoffs didn’t seem to phase the right-hander, who was pitching in his first ever playoff game.
“It was a good start,” said Ales, who improved his record to 9-2. “Came out with the same attitude I did every game and didn’t treat it any differently. The experience was great. Love the intensity of playoffs.”
The Hawks are headed to the Super Regionals to take on the third-seeded Ohlone Renegades at the College of San Mateo on May 11.