The No. 17 Riverside City College baseball team set up a sweep scenario on Saturday afternoon after earning a pair of wins against the Fullerton College Hornets earlier in the week. The Tigers broke out the broom today in the final game of a three-game series credit to a masterful pitching performance from sophomore southpaw David Barela and timely, late-game offense leading to a 3-2 victory.
Barela took the mound for his sixth start of the season and was on from the get go. He began his outing by retiring the first nine batters in order that included two strikeouts. He allowed his first hit in the top of the fourth inning, but promptly followed by picking off the base runner the next batter. From then on, he allowed just two base runners through seven innings and retired the side two more times.
Fullerton was just as tricky to solve on the hill through six innings, but Riverside stuck with their approach and broke through with a three spot in the bottom of the seventh inning. Freshman left fielder Joseph Hodapp recorded the first RBI knock of the game with a single through the left side, scoring freshman first baseman Dylan Kahono. Freshman second baseman Jacob Rodriguez, who reached base via walk, came around to score on the same play due to a throwing error by the left fielder.
Sophomore shortstop Shane Martinez continued the scoring trend by lacing a double down the left-field line, plating Hodapp, leading to a 3-0 advantage.
However, the Hornets remained focused and scored two runs the following half inning. Nevertheless, sophomore closer Graham Kuck entered into the game in the top of the ninth and did what he does best – slam the door. He retired the side in order and capped his outing with a strikeout leading to a 3-2 victory.
Barela earned the victory after tossing eight strong and fanning three batters. Kuck earned his conference-best seventh save.
Sophomore center fielder Erick Rayford and Hodapp each went 2-for-3, while Hodapp drove in one run.
The Tiger's defense was on point as well as they did not commit a single error.
The Tigers (24-13, 10-8 OEC) will look to continue their playoff hunt as they ace the first-place Orange Coast College Pirates for their final three-game series of the regular season. The first game will be at home on Tuesday, April 24th starting at 2 p.m.