Baseball Splits with Cuesta in Season-Opening Series

Photo by Michael Leone
Photo by Michael Leone

The Riverside City College baseball team hit the road this weekend and kicked off its 2018 campaign with a pair of contests against Cuesta College. The Tigers went 1-1 on the weekend highlighted by a 7-4 come-from-behind victory that featured a five-run top of the ninth inning.

Head Coach Rudy Arguelles handed the pearl to freshman right hander Andrew Baltierra (Temecula, CA) for the opening day start and he performed well from the get go. He retired the side in order in the top of the first inning by forcing three-consecutive ground ball outs sprayed around the infield. He followed in the second inning by only allowing a walk to blank Cuesta in the opening two innings.

The Tiger's bats came to life in the top of the third inning with sophomore shortstop Shane Martinez (Riverside, CA) barreling a single to score sophomore catcher Andrew Jurado (Riverside, CA). Sophomore designated hitter Erick Rayford (Chino Hills, CA) backed him in the following frame with a base knock to score sophomore second baseman Diego Guerrero (Maracaibo, Venezuela) to grab an early 2-0 lead.

Despite the fast start, Cuesta responded with three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to grasp a mere one-run lead.

The Tigers bullpen did a solid job holding the one-run deficit and keeping Riverside within striking distance. Sophomore southpaw Graham Kuck (Corona, CA) tossed a scoreless set of innings that included a trio of strikeouts – two looking – to regain control.

Cuesta did not let up by plating an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth inning, forcing the Tigers hand in the top of the ninth. Despite the deficit, Riverside responded strongly.

After a quick out in the top of the inning, Rayford and Jurado reached base via single and walk, respectfully. Freshman right fielder Joseph Hodapp (Murrieta, CA) earned a pinch hit and recorded a hit-by-pitch to load the bases with one out.

Freshman centerfielder Reginald Coleman (San Diego, CA) and freshman right fielder Dylan Kanoho (Honolulu, HI) came through by each drawing a walk to pull within two. The Tigers then relied on a crucial Cuesta error that plated three runs to take the lead.

Sophomore reliever Zach Filos (Murrieta, CA), who relieved Kuck in the eighth inning, slammed the door by retiring the side en route to a 7-4 comeback victory.

Filos earned the victory after his scoreless ninth frame. He recorded one strikeout in the process which came as the first out of the ninth inning. Kuck recorded a game-high three punch outs in 2.1 innings pitched while not allowing a hit.

The Tigers earned five hits on the day with Rayford pacing the offense on a 2-for-4 effort that led to a RBI and a run scored.

The Tigers dropped the second game of the series by the final score of 8-2. The Tigers stranded eight runners on base and recorded eight hits.

Riverside (1-1) will continue its season on the road on Tuesday, January 30th by facing off against the Palomar College Comets at 1 p.m.