Pima Community College sports

Pima achieves second consecutive 40-win season following road sweep of Cochise

Former Tucson High and Grand Canyon player Nick Arias had three hits, three runs and an RBI in Pima’s sweep of Cochise in Douglas on Saturday (Gilbert Alcaraz/Special to AllSportsTucson.com)

The Pima Community College baseball team secured its second straight season with at least 40 wins on Saturday after earning a sweep on the road at Cochise College in Douglas.

Before the 2023 season, the No. 16 Aztecs (40-12, 24-10 in ACCAC) did not achieve 40-plus wins in a season since 1991.

The Aztecs, who beat Cochise 11-2 and 8-4, have won 18 of their last 22 games and have four games left in the regular season.

They play their final regular-season home doubleheader at the West Campus Aztec Field on Tuesday against Arizona Western. First game starts at noon.

Sophomore Brant Kragel finished the day 2 for 6 with two RBIs, two runs and two walks. Fellow sophomore Nick Arias (Tucson) went 3 for 7 with an RBI and three runs. Freshman Collin Senior was 2 for 7 with three RBIs, two runs and a walk. Sophomores J.T. Drake and Garrett Hicks got the wins on the mound against Cochise (33-21, 20-16).

Game 1: (16) Pima 11, Cochise 2: The Aztecs scored nine straight runs to take the lead.

Kragel tied it at 1-1 in the second inning with a groundout to score freshman Nolan Ganter.

Freshman Ray Jesse and sophomore Jontae Hennesy scored on a couple of fielder’s choice plays and Kragel hit an RBI single to score Ganter to make it 4-1 in the third inning.

Jesse hit a two-run single scoring Kragel and sophomore Ruben Castro (Tucson) in the fifth inning to put Pima up 6-1.

Castro cleared the bases in the sixth with a three-run double, bringing around Arias, Senior and sophomore David Shackelford as Pima led 9-1.

Ganter capped off the Pima scoring in the seventh inning with a two-run double as he finished the game 2 for 3 with two RBIs, two runs and a walk.

Castro finished 2 for 2 with three RBIs and a run while Kragel was 1 for 3 with two RBIs, a run and a walk.

Jesse went 2 for 3 with two RBIs and a run and Senior was 2 for 4 with an RBI and two runs. Arias finished 1 for 2 with two runs and two walks.

Drake got the win as he pitched a complete game, giving up two runs on five hits with five strikeouts on 92 pitches.

Game 2: (16) Pima 8, Cochise 4: The Aztecs fell behind early but scored six straight runs to take the lead for good and earn the sweep.

Down 2-0 in the third inning, the Aztecs scored three runs in the top of the inning. Shackelford led off with a triple and was driven in by sophomore Antonio Avila, who hit a triple of his own to put Pima on the board.

Hennesy hit an RBI single to score Avila, and Senior hit a sacrifice-fly RBI to bring in sophomore Caleb Herd (Cienega). The Aztecs took a 3-2 lead.

They added to it in the fourth inning with another three runs.

Shackelford went deep to left field on a 1-1 count for the three-run shot. He scored Kragel and Castro as Pima led 6-2.

The Apaches rallied off two runs in the bottom half of the fourth inning.

The Aztecs countered with Arias drilling a solo home run to left field in the seventh inning to make it 7-4.

Shackelford finished the game 3 for 4 with three RBIs and two runs while Senior had two RBIs and a walk. Avila went 1 for 4 with an RBI and two runs and Arias was 2 for 5 with an RBI and a run. Herd finished 2 for 3 with a run.

Hicks came in for relief and picked up the win after throwing 5 1/3 innings, giving up two hits with three strikeouts.

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