Mustangs the favorites to defend state title

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Looking to repeat as state champions the Mustangs started the season as the No. 1 ranked team in the California Community College Sports Information Association State Top 20 rankings and that is also how they will start the postseason as they are ranked No. 1 in the newest rankings released on April 30.

Finishing the regular season with a record of 33-7 overall the Mustangs went 19-5 in Big 8 Conference play to make it back-to-back conference titles.

Last season the Mustangs also went 19-5 in conference play and finished in a tie for first with Sierra College while this season the Mustangs finished all alone in first place.

Vinny Bologna led the offense during a regular season that saw him capture the Big 8 Conference Triple Crown as he led the league with a .404 batting average, 58 runs batted in and 11 home runs.

Zack Mathis also had 58 runs batted in and was recently named as the California Community College Baseball Coaches Association as a NorCal Player of the Week. Mathis hit .361 with nine home runs during the season. Mathis is committed to play next season at the Cal State University of Northridge.

As a team, the Mustangs are averaging over ten runs a game and they have seven players that have driven in at least 25 runs this season including UC San Diego-bound Anthony Lucchetti with 41, University of the Pacific-bound Jimmy McClenaghan with 34 and Blake Dickman with 33.

While the offense has at times put up video game like numbers at the plate, sophomore left-hander Robert Gasser has been nearly unhittable at times as he leads the pitching staff with a perfect record of 11-0 on the mound. For the season in 75 innings he has struck out 100 batters with a 2.04 ERA. He is committed to play next season at the University of Houston.

Kevin Kyle has also had an outstanding sophomore season as he has gone 8-2 in his 12 starts this season with a 3.29 ERA and a team-best 101 strikeouts during his team leading 76.2 innings on the mound. He is committed to play next season at San Jose State.

As the top seed in the CCCAA Northern California Regional, the Mustangs will open the postseason with a best of three series at home starting on Friday, May 3 at 2 p.m. against Monterey Peninsula.