RIVERSIDE – Spotting its opponent an early two-run lead, the Riverside City College (RCC) Tigers baseball team bounced back for five unanswered runs en route to a 5-2 home win over the visiting Irvine Valley College (IVC) Lasers in the middle game of a three-game Orange Empire Conference (OEC) series at Samuel C. Evans Park Thursday afternoon (Mar. 23).
Riverside City (18-7 overall, 6-2 OEC) scored a pair of runs in the third and added single runs in the fourth, seventh and eighth innings to win going away.
RCC sophomore 1B John Gonzalez (Corona – Corona HS '15) drew a walk and scored on a sacrifice fly by sophomore DH Ryan Mota (Fontana / Kaiser HS '14). The Tigers then executed a delayed double steal with freshman SS Peter McEvoy (Colorado Springs, CO – Pine Creek HS '15) stealing home – to tie the game at 2-2 – and sophomore RF Dean Miller (Riverside – Ramona HS '15) nabbing second.
In the fourth, sophomore 2B Garrett McKee (Hemet – Hemet HS '15) drew a one-out walk and scored on a RBI double by Gonzalez for a 3-2 RCC lead.
In the seventh, freshman 3B Jake Barham (Long Beach – Woodrow Wilson HS 15) laced a lead-off single to right field and then advanced to second when the ball bounced through the right fielder's legs. Gonzalez walked. After a sacrifice bunt, McEvoy lofted a sacrifice fly to center field, plating Barham.
In the eighth, Mota reached on a fielding error at third base, went to second on a walk, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a sacrifice fly by McKee for the 5-2 final score.
Gonzalez paced RCC with two hits in two official at bats and also scored and drove in a run.
RCC red-shirt sophomore starting RHP Matt Acosta (San Bernardino – Cajon HS '14) went the distance as he allowed the two runs (both earned) and scattered seven hits, walked none and struck out four to improve to 4-1. Acosta threw 103 pitches (72 strikes) and saw his earned run average creep to 1.88 (52.2 innings pitched). It was 1.50 at the beginning of teh game.
Acosta's route-going performance was the Tigers' second complete game of the season. Sophomore LHP Blake Tuthill had a complete game on March 14 at Fullerton.
For Irvine Valley (15-10, 3-5 OEC), starting RHP Tyler Venturelli also pitched a complete game (though only 8.0 innings) as his record dipped to 4-2. Venturelli allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits, three walks and struck out two.
SS Tyler Odekirk went two (both were doubles) for five and 3B Ryan Rafferty went two for three to pace the Lasers..
The game lasted 2:13.
Both teams will conclude the three-game OEC series on Friday, Mar. 24, when RCC visits IVC for a 2 p.m. OEC start.