The Riverside City College baseball team entered into game three of an Orange Empire Conference (OEC) series against the Saddleback College Gauchos on the hunt for their second-consecutive conference sweep. Despite falling behind early, the Tigers came alive with runners in scoring position and capitalized off numerous opportunities leading to a 7-5 victory.
The Tigers took over sole possession of first place in the conference standings with the win. The Tigers currently boast a conference-best record of 21-5 including an 8-1 conference mark.
Saddleback jumped out to an early 3-0 lead to put the Tigers in attack mode, but sophomore right fielder Ulises Caballero shifted the moment on the game with one swing of the bat.
Prior to Calabello's at-bat, sophomore left fielder Joseph Hodapp led off the bottom of the third inning with a double. Freshman third baseman Matthew Ivancich was hit by a pitch, backed by a walk issued to sophomore designated hitter Kase Warner. Caballero came through with the bases juiced by blasting a towering grand slam to left field, handing Riverside a 4-3 advantage.
The Tigers followed with a two-spot the ensuing inning compliments of a two-RBI double from Ivancich. Ivancich followed two innings later by putting the ball in play and forcing an errant throw from the Gaucho's shortstop on an attempted double play ball, allowing freshman first baseman Dylan Morace to cross home.
Despite Saddleback scoring two more runs in the final three frames, freshman closer Lawrence Castaneda retired the side in order in the top of the ninth leading to a 7-5 victory.
Sophomore starter Alexander Salazar (4-1) earned the win after tossing four innings and striking out four batters. Freshman reliever Brandon Ross threw 2.1 innings and struck out four batters, while Castaneda earned his fifth save of the season.
Caballero launched his second homerun in as many games leading to a four RBI day. Ivancich followed with three RBI and a hit, while Hodapp clocked in a 2-for-3 day with a double and two runs scored.
Riverside (21-5, 8-1 OEC) will enter into a three-game series against the Orange Coast College Pirates (20-5-1, 7-2 OEC) beginning on the road Tuesday, March 26 at 2 p.m.