It has been a stormy month of February for the Riverside City College baseball team as many contests have been either canceled or postponed due to unfavorable weather conditions. Luckily for the Tigers and the Palomar College Comets, the teams were fortunate enough to face off against one another in a non-conference double header on Riverside's home diamond. The Tigers split with the Comets as they fell in game one, 5-3, but responded with an 8-0 win in game two.
After a game one that saw the Tigers commit five errors and succumb to poor base running, they responded with a heavy dose of offense and a strong pitching performance in game two.
Sophomore right hander Alexander Salazar took the mound and dominated from the get go. He began his start by retiring the side in order and went on to allow a mere four hits in the following six frames. In the top of the fourth inning, he punched out the first two batters with a nasty 12-6 curveball that forced freshman catcher Steven Ramirez to tag out both hitters. He utilized a powerful fastball accompanied by effective off speed pitches to keep Palomar very off-balance.
Offensively, the Tigers scored four runs in the first four innings of action. Sophomore shortstop Matthew Ivancich scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the second inning via passed ball. Sophomore left fielder Kase Warner touched home in the following frame due to an error on the Comet's second baseman, thus handing Riverside a two-run advantage.
The Tigers continued to put runners on base in the bottom of the fourth inning as they worked the bases loaded for Warner who worked a walk, plating Happ. Sophomore right fielder Ulises Caballero followed by recording a hit-by pitch, forcing Ivancich across the dish, leading to a 4-0 lead.
Riverside blew the game open in the bottom of the seventh inning by etching a four spot on the scoreboard. After the Tigers worked the bases loaded, freshman second baseman Dylan Morace worked a free pass to plate Caballero. Happ followed with a slow-rolling groundout to third base, scoring freshman first baseman Jonathan Ho. Ivancich followed with a two-RBI single to second base to push the lead to 8-0.
Freshman reliever Kenny Kim entered the game in the top of the eighth inning and picked up right where Salazar left off. He did not allow a hit while fanning four of the seven batters he faced leading to an 8-0 win.
Salazar picks up his first win of the season after chucking seven strong innings and fanning 10 batters, tying his season-high.
The bottom of the Tiger's order did most of the damage. Ivancich went 2-for-2 with two RBI and on run scored, while Happ went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored.
Riverside (8-4) will continue non-conference play on Wednesday, February 20 at home against San Bernardino Valley College at 2 p.m. Follow live stats at www.rccathletics.com.