After surrendering three runs in the top of the eighth inning, the Riverside City College baseball team went into the bottom of the ninth tied at 4-4. The Tigers remained poise and began to mount a comeback by placing a runner on third base with just one out. Sophomore left fielder Joseph Hodapp, who was hitless on the day, stepped up in a big way and lined a sacrifice fly to dead center field. Freshman shortstop Matthew Happ was able to tag up and slide head first into home to haul in a 5-4 victory in thrilling fashion.
The Tigers were in control for the majority of the game compliments of sophomore starter Alexander Salazar. Despite allowing one run in the top of the fourth inning, the veteran ace was lights out. He scattered six hits and recorded seven punch-outs. He tallied one strikeout in each frame.
Riverside etched their first run of the contest on a two-out RBI double down the left field line from freshman catcher Angel Mendoza. They added two more in the bottom of the fifth inning highlighted by a sacrifice ground out by sophomore center fielder Junior Coleman. Freshman third baseman Matthew Ivancich touched home on a wild pitch to bring the score to 3-1.
After the Tigers added a run in the bottom of the seventh inning, Ventura tossed up a three spot the ensuing half inning to put pressure on Riverside leading into the bottom of the ninth. Sophomore shortstop Matthew Happ led off the inning with a single through the left side. He advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt from Ivancich and promptly moved to third on a passed ball. Hodapp followed with the sacrifice fly out to center field to haul in the victory.
Freshman reliever Lawrence Castaneda earned the victory after tossing one inning of shutout ball in the top of the ninth. Salazar earned the no decision after punching out seven batters in seven innings of work.
Happ paced the offense going 2-for-4 while scoring two runs. Mendoza and Ivancich were responsible for the other two base knocks.
Riverside (13-4) will begin Orange Empire Conference (OEC) action on Tuesday, March 5 on the road against the Golden West College Rustlers at 2 p.m.