On a crisp night at Evans Sports Complex, sophomore third baseman Jacob Barham (Long Beach, CA) stepped into the box with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning with the scoreboard reading 5-5 against the East Los Angeles Huskies in non-conference action. Barham worked an even 1-1 count and promptly drove a hanging curveball up the middle for the game-winning base knock to hand the Tigers a 6-5 victory.
It was an unconventional route to the win after the Tigers committed six errors on the day. The five runs that Riverside allowed were all unearned runs. However, the Tigers stayed true to their game plan and chipped away at the lead.
Sophomore first baseman Daniel Martinez (Riverside, CA) put the Tigers on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning with a towering homerun over the right field wall. RCC added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning due to a set of throwing errors by the East LA to bring the score to 5-3.
From then on, it was the Tigers bullpen that stepped up in a big way and kept the Tigers within striking distance. Freshman reliever Chase Swenson (Menifee, CA) entered the contest in the top of the fifth inning and chucked 2.2 innings of scoreless baseball. He fanned two batters and only allowed a pair of hits.
Freshman reliever Steven Cardey (Riverside, CA) entered in the bottom of the eighth inning and tossed two scoreless innings to set the stage for the Tiger offense in the bottom of the ninth.
After the first two batters were retired in order, Riverside worked their magic with two outs.
Sophomore shortstop Shane Martinez (Riverside, CA) barreled a two-out double down the left-field line to put him in scoring position. Both D. Martinez and freshman right fielder Joseph Hodapp (Murrieta, CA). were intentionally walked to hand the bat to Barham. He rose to the occasion by sending a 1-1 curveball on a line into shallow center to plate Martinez for the 6-5 win. Watch the game-winning hit here.
Cardey (1-0) earned the win after taking over in the eighth inning. Freshman starter Austin Baltierra (Temecula, CA) did not get much help on defense as the Tiger's defense allowed five runs to cross the plate during his outing. None of the runs he allowed were earned.
D. Martinez and Hodapp provided five hits on the night. D. Martinez was a double shy of the cycle as he went 2-for-3 with a triple, homerun, three runs scored, an RBI, and three walks. Hodapp went 3-for-4 with a run and RBI.
The Tigers (5-1) have rattled off five-straight victories and will face East Los Angeles (6-2) tomorrow on the road.