Two-Run Seventh Lifts Softball past Santiago Canyon

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

The Riverside City College softball team entered into a crucial Orange Empire Conference (OEC) showdown against the Santiago Canyon College Hawks on Wednesday night under the lights at Evans Sports Complex. The Tigers were in control of the entire contest until the seventh inning rolled around and the Hawks plated two runs to snag a one-run lead. Despite the deficit, Riverside clawed back to score two runs in the bottom half of the inning leading to a 5-4 win.

Riverside leaned on a strong pitching performance from sophomore starter Brianna Arroyo. She entered into the circle for the fifth time this season and set herself to cruise control from the get go. She began her outing by tossing up consecutive zeros highlighted by a strikeout in the first inning and a groundout to sophomore first baseman Jocelyn Ontiveros to cap the second inning.

Riverside emphatically jumped on the board in the bottom of the first as sophomore third baseman Danielle Lopez launched a two-out, two-run jack to left center field, scoring sophomore shortstop Karter Williams thus leading to a 2-0 advantage.

Santiago Canyon trimmed the deficit to one run by etching a run in the top of the third inning, but  freshman designated player Zinaida Preciado powered a line drive single to dead center field scoring freshman right fielder Danielle Melendez, to add an insurance run and push the score to 3-1.

Despite the Tigers earning a two-run advantage leading into the final inning, the Hawks went on to score three innings in the following three frames to grab the lead at 4-3 entering into the bottom half of the seventh inning.

Riverside remained resilient entering into the bottom of the seventh inning and sparked a rally that began with freshman center fielder Samantha Peluffo reaching on an error by the Hawk's pitcher. Melendez advanced Peluffo to second base on a sacrifice bunt to set the stage for Williams.

Williams stepped up by barreling a base hit to third base to score Peluffo. She advanced to third base on a throwing error by the third baseman to herself in scoring position for Preciado.

Preciado, who drove in a crucial insurance run earlier in the contest, drove in the game-winning run with a groundout to second base, pushing Williams across to haul in the 5-4 victory.

Arroyo (5-5) earned her fifth win of the season after tossing her second complete game of the season. She spoke about her successes after the contest.

Williams continued her hot hitting by going 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Lopez launched her fifth homerun of the season as she finshed the day on a 1-for-3 mark.

Riverside (16-11, 5-7 OEC) will return to action on Friday, March 30 as they host the Orange Coast College Pirates at 2 p.m.