American River College’s baseball team stands with an 8-7 record as it begins conference play this week, looking to combine the talents of starting pitcher Matt Gunter with a much-improved offense from last season.
The team is seeking to improve from its current position of fourth in the Big Eight Conference, led offensively by freshman slugger Kirby Broadbent and sophomores Alex Gaskin and Jimmy Lunardelli.
Gunter, a sophomore, has had a strong second season for ARC, accounting for a 4-1 record in six starts with his only loss coming in the season opener.
Gunter leads the team in innings pitched with 37 ⅔ logged, and has also accumulated a team-leading 33 strikeouts while holding opposing batters to only a .231 batting average.
Offensively, Broadbent leads the team with a batting average of .422 and is slugging .644 while holding a .540 on base percentage.
Along with Broadbent, Gaskin and Lunardelli, ARC second baseman Cameron Bennett is hitting over .300, on fire as of late to hold a .383 batting average.
The team is certainly looking for better results than last season in conference play, when it started with a 10 game losing streak en route to a 4-17 conference record and last place finish.
For the remainder of the regular season, through April 24, ARC will play a three game series each week against a fellow Big Eight team, starting with three games on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday against Los Rios rival Sacramento City College this week.
Tuesday’s game as well as Saturday’s will be played at Sac City, while ARC will host the matchup Thursday at Beaver Field.
Road kings or sick of home?
ARC has won six straight road games, winning the final four games of a six game road trip as well as its last two away games following a home loss to Diablo Valley College on Feb. 26.
The team won at both Modesto Junior College last Tuesday and Diablo Valley College Friday, but fell to Cosumnes River College Thursday at home.
Broadbent cooling off, but still on fire
Broadbent still leads the team by nearly 40 points with a .422 batting average despite cooling from a state-leading, top-ranked pace.
He has fallen to 20th overall in the state with his current batting average, and is no longer slugging over 1.000 percent, but still holds 11th overall in slugging and currently sits at 10th in on base percentage.
ARC holds an identical 8-7 record to Sac City heading into this week’s series, and will face San Joaquin Delta College next week, who has started the season undefeated at 14-0.