RIVERSIDE -- Breaking the tie at the top of the Orange Empire Conference (OEC) standings, the Riverside City College (RCC) Tigers baseball team posted a 4-3 home win over the Orange Coast College (OCC) Pirates Thursday afternoon (Mar. 30) at Samuel C. Evans Park.
Riverside City (21-7 overall, 9-2 OEC, first place) built a 4-0 lead after six innings, which included a three-run bottom of the first, before the "never, ever give up" Pirates rallied for three runs in the top of the ninth, thanks to a one-out bases-loaded triple, to get close.
Entering this week, the Tigers were ranked No. 6 in the state (up from No. 12 last week) and OCC was No. 2. With a pair of wins already over the Pirates, RCC figures to move up in the poll, which is conducted by the California Community College Sports Information Association (CCCSIA) with Pasadena City College SID Robert Lewis as the pollster.
Frosh 3B Jake Barham (Long Beach - Woodrow Wilson HS '15) had a two-run single in the first to get the Tigers on the scoreboard. Freshman 2B Diego Guerrero (Apex, NC -- Middle Creek HS '15) added a RBI single for a 3-0 lead. In the sixth, sophomore CF Jack Bailey (San Diego - Torrey Pines HS '15) walked and scored in the sixth with what eventually became the winning run. Barham went two for three to pace RCC.
For Orange Coast (21-5 overall, 8-3 OEC, second place), RF Walker Keller socked the bases-loaded three-bagger to get OCC close. Keller was one of three Pirates to go two for four.
RCC sophomore starting RHP Matt Acosta (San Bernardino - Cajon HS '14) -- who is pictured -- went the first 8.1 innings before leaving with the sacks full. Acosta scattered eight hits and allowed the three runs (earned) with three walks and two strikeouts as he improved to 5-1. Sophomore DH/RHP Ryan Mota (Fontana - Kaiser HS '14) came on in relief and allowed the triple before inducing a strikeout and a fly out to right field to earn his first save of the campaign.
Both teams will conclude the three-game OEC series on Saturday, April 1, at 12 p.m. in Costa Mesa.