RIVERSIDE – In a game which featured three lead changes and a gutty pitching performance, the Riverside City College (RCC) Tigers baseball team outlasted the visiting Santa Ana College (SAC) Dons, 11-7, in the finale of a three-game Orange Empire Conference (OEC) series at Samuel C. Evans Park Friday afternoon (Apr. 28).
The game also was the regular season finale for both clubs.
Riverside City (29-11 overall, 15-6 OEC, second place) erupted for four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to overcome a 6-5 Santa Ana lead and lead, 9-6. After SAC scored in the top of the eighth to get to within, 9-7, RCC added a pair of runs in the eighth for the 11-7 final score.
RCC starting freshman LHP David Barela (Redlands – Redlands East Valley HS '15) lasted the first 7.0 innings and allowed six runs (four earned) on 13 hits, walked none and struck out five to improve to 6-2. Tigers sophomore relievers Daniel Agramont and 1B/RHP Ryan Mota each pitched an inning to conclude the game.
In the seventh inning, sophomore LF/1B John Gonzalez (Corona – Corona HS '15) smacked a two-run double off the right-field fence to give the Tigers a 7-6 lead. Two batters later, sophomore catcher Zach Grande (San Bernardino – Cajon HS '15) drilled a two-run single through the left side for a 9-6 lead.
Sophomore CF Dean Miller (Riverside – Ramona HS '15) smacked a solo home run to left field in the sixth inning – his fifth circuit clout of the season – to temporarily tie the game at 5-5.
Santa Ana (26-14 overall, 10-11 OEC) starting RHP/DH Nathan Flores lasted only 1-2/3 innings, but did lead the Dons by going three for four at the plate with two runs scored and two RBI. Reliever Josh Ludeman pitched 2-2/3 innings and gave up five runs (all earned) on four hits and two walks as his record fell to 0-1.
Next, both teams will sit by the phone and await a berth in the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) South Regional Playoffs which will begin with first-round (play in) games on Tuesday, May 2. RCC expects a high seed and a best two out of three series which would begin Friday, May 5, and continue with one or two games on Saturday, May 6.