No. 2 Baseball Fends Off No. 6 Orange Coast in Conference Action

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

It was a battle of top-ranked competitors on Tuesday evening as the No. 2 Riverside City College baseball team traveled to Costa Mesa, CA to take on the No. 6 Orange Coast College Pirates in Orange Empire Conference (OEC) action. The game featured a heavy dose of offensive power with the game totaling 17 combined hits and 13 combined runs, but it was the Tigers who wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the ninth to outlast the Pirates in a 7-6 win.

Riverside struck first in the top of the first inning with back-to-back RBI singles. Freshman catcher Angel Mendoza plated sophomore center fielder Junior Coleman with a base hit to right field. Freshman first baseman Dylan Morace followed the next at bat with a knock to the shortstop, plating sophomore first baseman Ulises Caballero to snag a 2-0 lead.

Sophomore ace Garrett Irvin earned the start for the Tigers, but struggled through the first two innings by allowing three runs. Despite the early woes, he settled in and tossed up a goose egg in the third inning capped with a strike out

 The Tigers did not face a deficit for long as they responded with a four-spot in the top of the fourth inning to regain the lead. Sophomore left fielder Joseph Hodapp led off the inning with a hit-by-pitch, backed by a walk issued to Coleman two batters later. Sophomore shortstop Matthew Happ barreled an RBI double a batter later to score Coleman. After Caballero was issued an intentional walk, freshman designated hitter Steve Ramirez launched a sacrifice fly to center field. Mendoza followed by barreling a two-RBI double down the left field line leading to a 6-3 lead.

Irvin settled in despite allowing another run and finished his outing with by retiring the side in order highlighted by another strikeout.

Orange Coast was not going down without a fight as they worked to ty the game up in the bottom of the seventh. Nevertheless, Riverside grabbed the lead in the top of the eighth inning compliments of a go-ahead RBI double from Morace.

A one-run advantage was all the Tiger's bullpen needed. Freshman reliever Ethan Sachs entered into the eighth inning and shoved it by not allowing a hit in 1.2 innings and fanning two batters. Freshman southpaw entered with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and wiggled out of a bases loaded jam with a pop out to sophomore third baseman Matthew Ivancich leading to a 7-6 victory.

Freshman reliever Marquise Johnson (2-1) earned the victory after tossing one inning. Ross earned his first career save.

Morace went 3-for-4 with which included the go-ahead RBI double. He recorded two RBI in the game. Mendoza clocked a 2-for-4 day with a game-high three RBI and two runs scored.

Riverside (22-5, 9-1 OEC) will host the Pirates for game-two of a three-game series on Thursday, March 28 at 2 p.m.