Sophomore right fielder Junior Coleman (San Diego, CA) dug into the batter's box in the bottom of the ninth inning in a tie ball game. After going down 0-2 early in the count with the bases loaded and nobody out, Coleman remained poised and took the next pitch and lofted it deep enough to right field, allowing freshman first baseman Dylan Kanoho (Honolulu, HI) to slide into home head first and take home a 5-4 victory over the Golden West College Rustlers in conference action.
Coleman is no stranger to the walk off life, as his sacrifice fly in today's victory acted as his second walk off at bat of the season.
Prior to Coleman launching the game-winning sac fly, it was Kanoho who sparked the ninth inning rally with an eight pitch at bat. He, too, faced an early 0-2 count and followed by connecting on the eighth pitch of the at bat for a single up the middle. Freshman left fielder Chapman Wheeler (Wilsomar, CA), who entered into the game in the top of the eighth inning as a defense replacement, followed by lofting a double down the right field line. Sophomore center fielder Erick Rayford (Chino Hills, CA) was issued an intentional walk, thus setting up the heroics of Coleman.
The offense started, continued, and ended with Coleman as he etched the first run on the board with a perfectly executed safety squeeze scoring none other than Kanoho. Coleman also recorded an RBI single in the bottom of the fourth, scoring Rayford, and an RBI single in the sixth inning to score freshman left fielder Joseph Hodapp (Murrieta, CA).
Sophomore hurler Daniel Martinez (Riverside, CA) earned the start on the hill and blanked the Rustlers through the opening five innings. He fanned a set of batters while forcing an inning-ending double play ball. Freshman reliever Alexander Salazar (Ohmi, Japan) eventually earned the victory after allowing just two hits and fanning two batters.
Coleman finished 3-for-3 with four RBI and a run scored, while Kanoho, D. Martinez, and Rayford combined four six hits and three runs scored.
The Tigers (20-12, 6-7 OEC) will continue a three-game series against the Rustlers (16-16, 4-9 OEC) on Thursday, April 12th on the road.