It was the first win or go home scenario for the No. 3 Riverside City College baseball team this season as they hosted the No. 11 Cypress College Chargers in the rubber match of the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) Southern Regional round two. The Tigers came out swinging by banging out four runs in the first inning and never looked by leading to a 10-5 triumph.
After a sluggish performance in game two, Riverside kicked their offense into high gear on their first trip to the dish. Freshman right fielder Matthew Bardowell got things going by barreling a single through the right side, scoring freshman center fielder Julian Alvarez who reached on an infield single to start the inning. Freshman designated hitter Bret Bowers followed with a deep sacrifice fly out to right field, sending freshman third baseman Ignacio Alvarez. Freshman first baseman Daniel Garcia capped the inning by launching a mammoth two-run jack over the right field wall to hand Riverside a 4-0 lead.
Freshman right hander Hayden Coon earned the start and cruised through his first three innings of action. He retired seven-consecutive batters to set the tone early. He got into some trouble in the top of the fourth inning by allowing three runs, but freshman reliever Luis Sakemi Sato was called on and recorded the final out.
Sato was on point throughout the remainder of his outing as he tossed up three consecutive goose eggs.
While the pitching was dominated, the Tiger offense was consistent as ever. Freshman left fielder Adrian Arechiga continued the RBI train in the bottom of the third inning with an RBI double down the left field line, plating Bardowell. An inning later, freshman catcher Daniel Briones, who led off the inning via walk, scurried home on a passed ball to extend the Tigers lead.
Riverside continued to press on the gas pedal by loading the bases in the bottom of the fifth inning. J. Alvarez drew a bases loaded walk, scoring Garcia, to grab a 7-3 lead.
Cypress trimmed the deficit to 7-5 after scoring two runs in the top of the eighth inning, but the Tigers nullified their efforts by scoring three runs in the bottom half of the frame.
I. Alvarez scored on an error with the bases loaded, backed by another two out, two-RBI knock from Arechiga leading to a 10-5 win.
Arechiga went 3-for-4 with a double, three RBI and a walk. Garcia and I. Alvarez both barreled two knocks with Garcia launching his second round tripper of the season.
Sato (3-0) earned the win after chucking 3.1 innings and fanning a staff-high four batters. Freshman duo Chaz McWilliams and Ryan Dominguez slammed the door as they each struck out one batter.
Riverside advanced to the third round of the CCCAA Southern Regionals for the first time since the inception of the third round. THe TIgers look to advance to the state championships for the first time since 2008. They will face off against No. 2 Glendale in a three-game series beginning on Friday, May 20 on the road. Stay tuned to www.rccathletics.com for more information.