The No. 3 Riverside City College baseball squad set up a rubber match in a huge three-game Orange Empire Conference (OEC) series against the No. 2 Cypress College Chargers on Friday evening after defeating them 3-2 on Thursday. The Tigers continued their strong pace by relying on a dominant outing from freshman right hander Alexander Salazar (Ohni, Japan) and etching a crooked number in the third en route to a 4-1 victory and a series win.
Salazar was lights out in his fifth start of the season by allowing just one unearned run and scattering nine hits. Of the nine hits, only one went for extra bases. He rarely found himself in any danger, but when he did, he got timely outs highlighted by two double-play balls in the bottom of the fifth inning and sixth inning.
Riverside utilized a four-run top of the third inning to set the tone. The Tigers fed off an early-inning error that allowed sophomore catcher Andrew Jurado (Riverside, CA) and freshman first baseman Dylan Kanoho (Honolulu, HI) to come home and score. Sophomore shortstop Shane Martinez (Riverside, CA) followed two batters later with a single to plate freshman right fielder Joseph Hodapp (Murietta, CA). Freshman center fielder Erick Rayford (Chino Hills, CA) capped the inning with a sacrifice fly to center, scoring sophomore second baseman Diego Guerrero (Maracaibo, Venezuela) to grab a 4-0 lead.
The Chargers responded with one run in the third, but they could not solve the Salazar puzzle en route to a 4-1 Riverside victory.
Freshman closer Graham Kuck (Corona, CA) earned the save after entering in the bottom of the ninth inning and recording a strikeout.
S. Martinez led the Tigers at the plate going 2-for-4, while Rayford notched the lone RBI.
The Tigers (15-5, 2-1 OEC) will continue action on Tuesday, March 13th with a game against the No. 1 Saddleback College Gauchos (16-3, 2-1 OEC) at Evans Sports Complex at 2 p.m.