RIVERSIDE -- Ryan Mota stroked a bases-loaded infield single in the bottom of the eighth inning and two runs scored as the Riverside City College (RCC) Tigers baseball team edged the visiting Grossmont College Griffins, 3-2, in a non-conference game at the Samuel C. Evans Sports Complex Thursday afternoon (Feb. 9).
The game was originally scheduled to be played at Grossmont, but the Griffins' field was unplayable due to recent rains. Thus, the Tigers hosted Grossmont for the second consecutive Thursday (also Feb. 2).
Riverside City (5-3 overall) opened a 1-0 lead after four innings on a two-out RBI single to right field by Mota, a sophomore DH from Fontana (Kaiser HS '14), which drove in sophomore 1B John Gonzalez (Corona - Corona HS '15), who had doubled with one out. Gonzalez' fly ball to right field appeared to be "snow-coned" by RF Eric De la Rosa, but was ruled to have touched the grass as De la Rosa dived.
In the top of the sixth, Grossmont (2-4 overall) took a 2-1 lead. Freshman DH Niko Navarro (Los Osos HS) singled up the middle. Up stepped sophomore 1B Noah Strohl (La Jolla HS) who promptly banged a 0-1 pitch over the center-field fence to give the Griffins the lead. Last Thursday, Strohl hit a home run to left-center field against RCC.
In the fateful eighth, RCC made two quick outs on a pop out and a strikeout. Freshman SS Diego Guerrero (Apex, NC / Middle Creek HS '15) singled perfectly up the middle (through the pitcher's legs, over second base and into center field). Gonzalez followed with a single up the middle. After taking three declared balls, sophomore RF Dean Miller (Riverside / Ramona HS '15) was walked intentionally to load the bases when the fourth pitch was intentionally wide.
Mota -- who is pictured -- came to bat and banged a 3-2 pitch up the middle for an infield single to drive in Guerrero. When the short stop's throw bounced to first base, Gonzalez raced home from second base for the go-ahead run. Gonzalez went two for four with two runs and Mota went two for four with two RBI for RCC.
RCC sophomore LHP Bayley Chesterton, who entered the game in the sixth and pitched 3-2/3 innings before being lifted with two outs and two runners on base in the top of the ninth, gained the victory (1-0). Sophomore RHP Christian Stiegele (Murrieta - Murrieta Mesa HS '15) induced a ground ball fielder's choice to end the game and earn the save.
The Tigers return to action on Friday, Feb. 10, when they host the East Los Angeles College (ELAC) Huskies in the first game of a home-and-home non-conference two-game series at 1 p.m. On Saturday, Feb. 11, RCC will visits ELAC for a 5 p.m. game.