Riverside Feeds off Fullerton Miscues, Strong Bullpen in Victory

Photo by Bobby R. Hester
Photo by Bobby R. Hester

The Riverside City College baseball team played host to the Fullerton College Hornets in game-two of a three-game series in Orange Empire Conference (OEC) action on Thursday. Despite a lowly six hits on the day, the Tigers took advantage of Fullerton's pour defensive play and a strong bullpen leading to a 10-5 triumph.

Sophomore starting pitcher Brandon Ross climbed the bump for his second start of the season, but could not get through two complete frames after allowing the Hornets to etch a two-spot in the first inning. Nevertheless, the Tiger offense stepped up by plating six runs in the following two frames.

Freshman catcher Steve Ramirez provided a much-needed spark in the bottom of the second inning by blasting a solo homerun to left field through the gusting wind, bringing the Tigers within one run. An ensuing five spot in the bottom of the third inning set the tone for the remainder of the contest.

After Riverside loaded the bases with nobody out, sophomore Ulises Caballero recorded a ground out that plated freshman third baseman Matthew Ivancich. Freshman designated hitter Angel Mendoza followed with a sacrifice fly to center field, backed by an RBI single to second base from sophomore first baseman Andrew Talkington. Ramirez struck again by blasting a double to deep left-center field, scoring Talkington. Freshman shortstop Matthew Happ capped the scoring melee with a single through the left side, plating Ramirez, to grab an early 6-2 advantage.

The Tigers displayed some consistent offense in the following two frames credited to a wild pitch, scoring sophomore left fielder Joseph Hodapp, and a Fullerton defensive miscue, scoring Talkington.

The Tigers added two more runs in the bottom of the seventh inning due in part to a continuation of poor defense from the Hornets. Talkington crossed home once again on an error, backed by a sacrifice fly from sophomore center fielder Junior Coleman, leading to a 10-5 victory.

Freshman reliever Drew D'Ambra (3-0) was called on early in the contest and performed well, leading to his third win of the season. He chucked 3.1 innings of action while allowing just one run off two hits and fanning a pair of batters. Sophomore reliever Lawrence Castaneda punched out a game-high four batters in 2.1 innings of action, while freshman reliever Marquise Johnson entered in the top of the ninth and retired the side in order.

Ramirez paced the offense by going 2-for-2 with a homerun, double, three RBI and two runs scored.

Riverside (17-5, 4-1 OEC) will look to sweep the series against Fullerton on Saturday, March 16 on the road. First pitch is scheduled for 12 p.m.