It was a crosstown rivalry on display Wednesday night under the lights at Evans Sports Complex as the Riverside City College baseball team played host to the San Bernardino Valley College Wolverines in non-conference action. The Tigers banged out a season-high 18 runs off 20 hits leading to an 18-3 victory.
Last season, both squads battled it out in a pitcher's duel that saw the Tigers defeat the Wolverines 1-0. While the pitching was still very prevalent in the outcome for Riverside, the same could not be said for the Wolverines.
Freshman southpaw Ryan Hernandez earned the nod on the bump for his first career start. The crafty lefty, who made two relief appearances in early February, was as dominant as he has been. He worked his longest outing of the year at 3.1 innings and cruised through the first two frames.
He faced the minimum through three innings which encompassed three punch outs – two of them coming in the third inning. He carted a no hitter into the fourth inning before allowing a bloop single to right center field prior to striking out the first batter of the inning.
Hernandez was lifted shortly after by freshman reliever Dominic Mota. He promptly wiggled out of a small jam with a line drive double play.
The Riverside offense fed off the strong pitching highlighted by a seven-run bottom of the fourth inning. They barreled five hits in the frame with three acting as RBI knocks.
Sophomore second baseman Alex Moreno connected for the first RBI hit as he squared up a two-bagger down the right field line, plating freshman duo Alphonzo Mancinas and Gabe Briones. After sophomore designated hitter Steve Ramirez drew a walk, freshman right fielder Matthew Darr dropped a single to right field to plate Moreno and sophomore center fielder Dylan Morace. Sophomore catcher Angel Mendoza followed with a double down the left field line, plating Darr, to highlight the seven-run melee.
The Tigers went on to toss up another crooked number by etching a five spot in the bottom of the seventh inning. Four RBI base hits were recorded including freshman second baseman Zack Leonti's first-career RBI and hit. It was a diving single to shallow right field to score freshman first baseman Gabino Gutierrez.
Four relief pitchers including freshman Jon Mocherman, sophomore Jacob BIlliu, freshman Seth Spencer and freshman Bailey Redell entered into the game and chucked 5.2 inning to close out the contest. They allowed zero runs, no hits and fanned 11 batters leading to an 18-3 win.
Riverside (7-2) will continue action at home against LA Harbor on Friday, January 14 at 2 p.m. The Tigers will complete a suspended game against LA Harbor prior to starting the second game of the series.