Gauchos sophomore pitcher Domnique Key (No. 17) pitches to an Irvine Valley College batter in the game Tuesday. Saddleback defeated the Lasers, 4-2, moving to 4-1 in Orange Empire Conference play. (Kseniya Taranyuk/ Lariat)
The Saddleback College baseball team won its fourth game in a row on Wednesday with a score of 4-2 defeating Irvine Valley College in an Orange Empire Conference game. Sophomore Ryan Fitzpatrick hit a game-winning home run in the bottom of the eighth inning, helping place his team in the lead and ultimately win.
“It was a good game for me,” first baseman Ryan Fitzpatrick said. “I had some good two strike battles. I think that at the last at bat he threw two fast balls away and I kind of got a piece of them and then he kind of hung a curve ball and I was able to get it out.”
Both teams scored in the second inning and IVC pushed two runs across on a double. After a leadoff double, IVC got a run on an RBI single and Saddleback walked in a run leaving the score 2-0. Saddleback then got a sacrifice fly allowing outfielder Robbie Biehl to score, bringing Saddleback up to 2-1.
“I feel like today was a great win,” Biehl said. “They kind of had us beat in the first couple innings but we found a way to scrap out a win towards the end.”
The score remained 2-1 from the third to seventh inning until the Saddleback bats got hot. Outfielder Jared Donahoe led off the eighth inning with a single and was pinch ran for by second baseman Justin Westbrook, but IVC turned two. Dallas Dey then walked and eventually he still stole second base.
Fitzpatrick then hit a line drive two-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the eighth over the 373 sign to the left center field, leaving an IVC outfielder on the track. Saddleback does a great job for the remainder of the eighth inning fighting off pitches and working the count.
“It was a good feeling,” Fitzpatrick said. “I didn’t know at first if it was going that far out, I thought it might have a chance for it but it kept going and it was big for us.”
The top of the ninth began with Saddleback’s Daniel Endsly pitching, getting a groundout to start things off. Endsly then struck out the third batter for a second out and leading to a groundout to shortstop Luke Jarvis ending the game.
“I’m excited about this season, I think we have a lot of potential,” said Saddleback head coach Sommer McCartney. “This four game winning streak means we’re kind of playing to that potential.”
Saddleback’s next game is away at IVC and after that they will be heading up to Central California to play Reedley College, College of the Sequoias and Bakersfield College.