Saddleback comes up big in conference game against Riverside to tie up the series.
Saddleback College’s Brett Auerbach watches Andrew Wilson dive back to first base as Riverside’s pitcher attempts to pick him off. (Ethan Catanghal)
The Saddleback Gauchos baseball team outscored the Riverside Tigers 11-7 in a conference game Thursday afternoon at Doug Fritz Field. The series between Saddleback and Riverside is now tied at 1-1.
The Gauchos suffered their first offensive shutout since 2013 when playing Riverside on Tuesday. The final score of the game was 1-0, but one coach did not think the score represented how well Saddleback actually played in the Tuesday matchup.
“We played really good on Tuesday. It was a 1-0 loss, and today we carried the same mindset,” said Dustin Bothwell, assistant coach of the Gauchos. “Win or lose, we want to come out and we want to play hard, want to play with energy. Whatever happens, happens. All we can ask is that we bring a good effort.”
Saddleback College’s Adam Gordon hits a 2-RBI single to give the Gauchos a 3-1 lead in Tuesday’s matchup against Riverside College. (Ethan Catanghal)
The Tigers opened the game up with a double RBI by designated hitter Ryan Mota batting in Peter McEvoy. However, the Gauchos responded with three straight hits from Jerry Carillo, Andrew Wilson and Brett Auerbach at the bottom of the first. Auerbach’s bunt lead to an RBI and tied the game at 1-1.
Left fielder Adam Gordon then helped Saddleback gain a 3-1 lead with a 2-RBI single.
After taking the lead, designated hitter Mike Jarvis took a hit by a pitch which resulted in loaded bases. Next up to bat was third baseman Spencer Heinsus, who hit a 2-RBI single and increased the lead to 5-1.
Riverside slowly creeped back into the game after scoring single runs in the next three innings. Saddleback scored twice in two of those innings, helping them maintain a lead at 6-4.
The Tigers would then go on to three score scoreless innings, while the Gauchos capitalized in two of those innings. At the bottom of the fifth, Gordon scored on a wild pitch and brought the lead up to 8-4. On the next play, Heinsius bunted the ball for a single, but an error allowed him to advance to second base and scored him an RBI.
After a hitless sixth inning, Saddleback got back on track with Jarvis striking a double at the bottom of the seventh. After a wild pitch, Jarvis proceeded to advance to third base. On the following play, Heinsius flied out to center field, but Jarvis was able to score after a sacrifice fly.
Gauchos’ center fielder Tyler Clark hits a RBI single to left field to increase the lead against the Riverside Tigers to 8-6 at the bottom of the sixth inning. (Ethan Catanghal)
At the end of the seventh inning, the Gauchos led 10-4.
After three scoreless innings, Riverside found their beat at the top of the eighth. After a strikeout and ground out by pitcher Brandon Helmick, Riverside began to heat up.
The sequence started off with a single to left field by Riverside’s second baseman Garrett McKee. Catcher Peter Gomez was walked the next play which McKee to second base. Left fielder Patrick Vizacaino capitalized during his turn at-bat on the next play by launching a 3-RBI home run and lowering the lead down to 10-7.
Saddleback responded when catcher Erik Voller hit a RBI single to center field at the bottom of the eighth. Voller’s hit raised the score to 11-7.
At the top of the ninth, Saddleback’s defense came up big with a double play. A bunt was thrown out at second and quickly thrown to first for a ground out. On the next and final play, right fielder Dean Miller flies out to the third baseman.
Saddleback ended the day with 15 total hits from seven different players. Two of those hits came from Auerbach.
“It feels really good,” Saddleback’s second baseman Brett Auerbach said. “We’ve been playing good ball recently, so it feels nice to get the W.”
After Thursday’s win, the Gauchos climbed back up to third place in the OEC conference. With the series now tied, the Gauchos will travel back to Riverside on Saturday to finish the series.
“It’s going to be a tough one, both teams are going to want to win the series,” said Tyler Clark, center fielder for the Gauchos. “It’s going to be whoever picks up the most on the other team’s mistakes.”
The first pitch of the series finale is scheduled to take place at noon.