Shortstop Josh Fuentes holds up the ball as he looks to the second base umpire for the call. The umpire ruled the Riverside baserunner safe. (Michael Grennell)
Tuesday night was the final home game of the regular season for the 11 departing sophomores on the Saddleback College baseball team. The farewell ended up bittersweet, as the Gauchos fell to the Riverside College Tigers 7-1.
The Gauchos had eight sophomores take the field in the loss. Shortstop Josh Fuentes, second baseman Jeff Butler, first baseman Noah Graham, catcher Kyle Ferret, and designated hitter Eric Ehlow were in the starting lineup for the Gauchos, with third baseman Brian Romero coming in later in the game to replace freshman Casey Bennett. Fuentes, Butler, Graham, Ferret, Ehlow, and Romero combined to go 3-18 at the plate in the loss, with an RBI, a run scored, and three strike outs.
Taylor Ohl was the starting pitcher for Saddleback, and ended up being credited with the loss after pitching 4.1 innings, allowing six runs on ten hits while striking out four. Colby Sims came in to pitch in the top of the ninth and faced two batters in his final home appearance, walking one while getting the other to ground out. The Gauchos three sophomores that did not make an appearance in the game were pitchers Evan Manarino, Christian Stubbs, and Kyle Katsandris.
Saddleback plays its final game of the season on Thursday, when they travel to Riverside College. With a win on Thursday, the Gauchos will finish in third place in the Orange Empire Conference. A third place finish this season would be the first time in 10 years that the Gauchos finished higher than fourth place in the OEC.
Gauchos second baseman Jeff Butler in his batting stance awaiting the pitch. Butler drove in the Gauchos lone run on an eighth inning RBI single. (Michael Grennell)
Sophomore Taylor Ohl warms up in between innings. In his final regular season start at home, Ohl was tagged with the loss. (Michael Grennell)