The Riverside City College baseball team took to the road on Saturday against the Fullerton College Hornets on the hunt for their first Orange Empire Conference (OEC) sweep of the season. The Tigers found themselves in a battle as both teams traded blows from the get go. However, a three-run top of the ninth inning for Riverside aided a 6-4 victory.
Sophomore starter Alexander Salazar climbed the bump for his second conference start of the season. Despite having some control issues as seen in five walks, he allowed just one hit while striking out four batters to blank the Hornets through five innings.
Riverside provided Salazar with a two-run cushion in the top of the second inning. After freshman catcher Angel Mendoza kicked off the inning with a leadoff double, freshman designated hitter Steve Ramirez sent him home on an RBI-single to center field. Ramirez later came around to score on a throwing error, thus handing the Tigers a 2-0 advantage.
The Tigers added another run in the top of the fifth inning compliments of freshman second baseman Alex Moreno. Sophomore center fielder Junior Coleman turned on the burners by sending a triple to left field with one out in the inning. Moreno then promptly barreled a single to center field.
After the Tigers grabbed a three-run lead, freshman reliever Kenny Kim entered the game and chucked a flawless sixth inning by allowing one hit and punching out two batters. However, the Hornets made it interesting in the following three frames by tying the game at three-all entering into the ninth inning.
Sophomore shortstop Matthew Happ kicked off the inning by drawing a hit by pitch. He then advanced to second base on a bunt by freshman pinch hitter Dylan Morace. Coleman followed two batters later with a single to left field, scoring Happ. Moreno followed with a sacrifice fly out to center field, backed by an RBI single from sophomore right fielder Ulises Caballero to grab a 6-3 lead.
Freshman Lawrence Castaneda pitched the following inning and found himself in a bases loaded jam, but sealed the deal with an inning-ending double play en route to a 6-4 victory.
Coleman paced the offense by going 2-for-3 with a triple, RBI and two runs scored. Alex Moreno inked a two-RBI game after notching one hit.
Riverside (18-5, 5-1 OEC) will host the Saddleback College Gauchos in the first game of ta three-game series on Tuesday, March 19 at 2 p.m. Follow live stats at www.rccathletics.com.