Riverside Moves Ahead of Santa Ana in Conference Standings, Wins 8-4

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

After last week's series victory over the Irvine Valley Lasers, the Riverside City College baseball team has landed themselves in a three-way tie for the top spot in the Orange Empire Conference (OEC) standings.  Santa Ana College Dons is one of those three teams and the Tigers played host to the Dons for game-one of a three-gamer series on Tuesday afternoon. After what seemed to be a nail biter in the making, Riverside utilized a complete lethal attack to outlast the Dons en route to an 8-4 victory.

(Ulises Caballero (left) & Andrew Talkington (right) discuss the big win after the game. Questions & interview conducted by Madison Hernandez (S.A.A.C. Sports Publicist))

The Dons took an early lead after plating two unearned runs in the top of the first inning, but the Tigers immediately responded with three runs to snag the lead. Sophomore right fielder Ulises Caballeros launched a two-run blast to center field, plating freshman second baseman Alex Moreno, to take their first lead. Sophomore first baseman Andrew Talkington came across to score on a passed ball to push the Tiger's advantage to 3-1.

Moreno, who acted as the hottest bat in the lineup, followed the next frame by poking a two-out RBI single to right field sending sophomore center fielder Junior Coleman home to extend their lead to 4-1 after two full innings.

A three-run lead was all that sophomore starting pitcher Garret Irvin needed as he was downright filthy throughout his entire outing. He continued to retire the side in four out of his final six innings leading to nine total strikeouts.

Riverside added a pair of runs in the fourth inning compliments of a two-RBI single from Talkington. Freshman backstop Angel Mendoza followed with an RBI single to center field in the sixth inning, backed by another RBI knock from Talkington in the eighth eventually leading to an 8-4 victory.

Irvin, who is a candidate for the conference pitcher of the year award, earned his seventh win of the season. Freshman reliever Marquise Johnson earned a crucial out in the top of the eighth inning, while sophomore closer Lawrence Castaneda chucked a flawless ninth inning capped by a punch out.

Moreno earned a 4-for-5 day at the dish with two RBI and a run scored, while sophomore shortstop Matt Happ, Talkington, and Mendoza each barreled two hits.

Riverside (25-8, 12-4 OEC) will face off against the Dons (22-10, 11-5 OEC) on the road Thursday, April 11 at 2 p.m.