RIVERSIDE – Peter Gomez laid down a bunt single on a 1-2 pitch in the bottom of the ninth and Patrick Vizcaino scored from third on a throwing error as the host Riverside City College (RCC) Tigers baseball team edged the visiting Cypress College Chargers, 2-1, in the Orange Empire Conference (OEC) opener for both teams at Samuel C. Evans Park Tuesday afternoon (Mar. 7).
Vizcaino, a sophomore LF from Chino (Don Lugo HS) opened the ninth with a single to left-center field and then sophomore DH Ryan Mota (Fontana / Kaiser HS '14) singled up the middle on a 0-1 pitch to put Tigers at first and second bases.
Up stepped freshman catcher Gomez (Eastvale / Eleanor Roosevelt HS '14) who fouled off two bunt attempts before taking a high pitch for ball one. To the surprise of everyone not on the Riverside squad, Gomez laid down a bunt about three feet inside the third-base line which was fielded by Cypress starting sophomore RHP Andrew Quezada. Quezada, who had no play at first on Gomez, wheeled and bounced his throw toward third base which rolled into foul territory, enabling Vizcaino to score.
Riverside City (13-5, 1-0 OEC) struck first when Mota -- who is pictured -- socked his fourth home run of the season oner the left-field fence in the bottom of the fourth inning for a 1-0 lead. Immediately before, Vizcaino was picked off at first, otherwise the Tigers may have avoided playing in the bottom of the ninth.
Undaunted, Cypress (13-4 overall, 0-1 OEC) came right back in the top of the fifth when freshman LF Matt Schmidt led off the frame with his third home run of the season on the first pitch he saw.
RCC starting sophomore LHP Blake Tuthill (Redlands – Redlands East Valley HS '14), who was 5-0 coming into the game, went the first 8.0 innings and allowed just the one run as he scattered seven hits, walked none and struck out seven. He left with a no decision.
Sophomore RHP Daniel Agramont (Eastvale / Eleanor Roosevelt HS '15) came on in the top of the ninth and allowed a single and a walk, but also induced three fly outs to center field to improve to 1-0.
Hard-luck losing pitcher Quezada went 8.0 innings and allowed two runs (one earned) on eight hits with one walk and one strikeout. Sophomore 3B Angel Ortiz, batting ninth in the Chargers' lineup, went three for four with three singles.
The game lasted only 1:53.
Both teams continue this three-game OEC series on Thursday, Mar. 9, when RCC visits Cypress in a 2 p.m. start. The series finale will be on Saturday, Mar. 11, at 12 p.m. in Riverside.