It was a battle until the end in the Riverside City College baseball team's home opener on Tuesday night as they played host to the red hot Mt. San Antonio College Mounties. After the Mounties jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, the Tigers etched a three spot on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second inning and never looked back leading to a 5-4 victory.
The Tigers did an excellent job of working counts and getting runners on base despite having only three hits through the first five frames. Sophomore first baseman Andrew Talkington kicked off the second-inning rally with a single to first base followed by a two bagger off of the bat of freshman catcher Steven Ramirez. Sophomore shortstop Matthew Happ wore a pitch to load the bases with nobody out.
Freshman third baseman Mathew Ivancich and sophomore center fielder Junior Coleman followed suit by each recording a hit by pitch, respectively, leading to a pair of runs. Sophomore designated hitter Kase Warner capped the inning with a sacrifice fly to score Happ leading to a 3-1 advantage.
After the Tigers snagged the lead, freshman starter Lawrence Castaneda settled in and halted the Mounties to a mere run in the following five frames. He utilized a full arsenal of pitches to keep the Mounties off balance.
Riverside tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the seventh inning with Ivancich sending Talkington home on a ground out. Happ later scored on a wild pitch.
Despite Mt. SAC making things interesting in the top of the ninth inning by plating two runs with two outs, freshman reliever Ethan Sachs stranded the game-tying run on second base by forcing a game-ending pop up to freshman second baseman Dylan Morace to hand Riverside a 5-4 win.
Talkington paced the Tigers offensively by going 2-for-4 with two runs scored, while Ivancich recorded two RBI.
Casteneda picked up the win in his first-career start. He lasted seven innings and recorded six punch outs. Sachs earned his first-career save while fanning a pair of batters in the process.
Riverside (2-2) will cap a two-game series with the Mounties (3-1) on Wednesday, January 30 on the road.