Pasadena City College softball pitcher Britney Lopez's collegiate debut was one for the record books on Monday night. Lopez hurled the first no-hitter by a PCC pitcher in 13 years and centerfielder Nathalia Velasquez supplied the offense with a home run, triple and a single with three RBI as the Lancers shut out host Saddleback, 6-0.
Lopez, a freshman from Monrovia High, never gave up a hard hit ball in the seven-inning, complete game as she retired the first 12 batters. In the fifth, she walked the leadoff batter Carlee Russo before setting down the next eight hitters. In the seventh, she walked Russo again with two outs, but got Jasmine Beverly to hit a foul pop-up to third baseman Kaylee Medrano who gloved the final out of the pitching masterpiece. Lopez threw just 81 pitches, striking out five batters, and allowing only the two walks. PCC's defense did not make an error.
The Lancers (2-0) gave Lopez all the offense she would need quickly in the top of the first inning. Shortstop Alex Howard led off the game with a single, stole second, and came around to score on Velasquez's RBI single to right. Velasquez later stole home on a double steal with leftfielder Briana Hernandez taking second as PCC led 2-0 before Lopez even threw a pitch.
In the fifth, Velasquez belted a 2-run homer to centerfield for a 4-0 lead. In the seventh, Velasquez continued to torment Saddleback pitching as she ripped a triple to right. Medrano's infield single to shortstop allowed Velasquez to cross the plate for the third time. While Velasquez was 3-for-3, Howard went 2-for-4 with two steals.
The last time a Lancer threw a no-hitter was a 5-inning, mercy shortened one by Sarah Sherman against El Camino College on April 21, 2005. The last 7-inning, no-hit performance by a PCC pitcher was on April 2, 2000 when Laney McCown hurled a perfect game against College of the Desert at the Ventura Tournament. Another first in a while for the PCC program (and first under fifth-year head coach Monica Tantlinger) was this was the first time the team pitched back-to-back shutouts since 2013 and first in 11 years to have consecutive shutouts of the regulation 7 innings, a feat performed by Jessica Stewart on consecutive days Mar. 30-31 in 2006 v. Ventura, then Citrus. This year, it was Lopez following Angel Wintercorn's 4-hit, season-opening blanking over Antelope Valley.
"I'm so happy for Britney to accomplish this feat," Tantlinger said. "It was fun to watch. I am glad our players are focused on the process and using their mental tools to succeed. We want to continue playing one pitch at a time. B-Lo earned this victory and it was a proud coaching moment."
On Friday, Feb. 2, PCC plays at Ventura College in an early 12 noon start.