The Riverside City College baseball team has been on a tear leading into its Orange Empire Conference (OEC) opener against the Golden West College Rustlers on the road. The Tiger extended their winning streak to seven-consecutive victories by exploding for 11 runs off 16 hits leading to an 11-1 victory.
It was a tight contest through the opening two frames in what looked to be a brewing pitcher's duel. Sophomore southpaw Garrett Irvin got his first taste of conference competition and showed no signs of struggle. He cruised through his first two innings by fanning three batters – two acting as the final pair of outs in the first frame.
The Riverside bats got to work in the top of the third inning. Sophomore left fielder Joseph Hodapp lead off the inning with a two bagger and quickly traded places with sophomore center fielder Junior Coleman as he sent Hodapp home by barreling an RBI double. Freshman second baseman Alex Moreno followed with a sacrifice fly to right field, plating Coleman. Sophomore right fielder Ulises Caballero continued the doubles trend by connecting for one of his own. He came around to score on an RBI single from sophomore first baseman Andrew Talkington, thus handing the Tigers a 3-0 advantage.
Hodapp continued the scoring trend in the top of the fourth inning by connecting for an RBI single, scoring sophomore shortstop Matthew Happ. Golden West responded with a run in the bottom half of the inning, but Riverside continued on to plate seven unanswered runs in the following four innings.
Caballero did not slow down as the contest continued on as he hit a two-out, two-RBI single to score freshman third baseman Matthew Ivancich and Coleman. Talkington matched his hot streak with his second RBI knock of the game to send Caballeros trotting home.
The top of the eighth inning was much of the same story with Caballero launching an RBI double, plating Coleman. Talkington and freshman catcher Angel Mendoza followed with RBI ground outs. Coleman added an insurance run in the top of the ninth inning via single leading to an 11-1 victory.
Caballero carted the most powerful stick by going 3-for-5 with two doubles, three RBI and three runs scored. Talkington matched his RBI total with three and went 2-for-4 at the dish in his first game back.
Coleman notched a game-high four hits, two of them acting as doubles, while notching two RBI and scoring three times.
Irvin (4-1) tossed 6.2 innings and fanned seven batters while issuing zero walks for his fourth win of the season. Freshman tandem Lawrence Castaneda and Marques Johnson chucked the final 2.1 innings and allowed no hits and recorded one strikeout each.
Riverside (14-4, 1-0 OEC) will continue action at home on Thursday, March 7 at home at 2 p.m. Follow live stats at www.rccathletics.com