Photo by: Matt Corkill
Freshman Eric Pierce battles for his first win of the season against Golden West.
The Saddleback Gauchos earned their first Orange Empire Conference victory of the season with their win over Golden West College, 3-1, at Doug Fritz field on Tuesday.
Saddleback was led by freshman pitcher Eric Pierce (1-0) who was able to limit the Rustlers to one run on five hits with a walk through seven innings. In the bottom of half of the seventh, sophomore right fielder Brandon Cody lifted the Gauchos to a 3-1 lead with a two-run home run deep over the left-center field wall. Cody has hit a home run in back to back games on consecutive days and now has three on the season.
“It feels good getting my swing back and I’m very happy that it came when it did because its always good to get the W,” sophomore Brandon Cody said after the victory. “I’m not necessarily looking for home runs, I’m just looking for timely hits to help the team.”
Golden West loaded the bases in the next inning against the Gaucho bullpen, but sophomore closer Coleman Huntley was able to come it and force a flyball to Brandon Cody, who made a great diving catch and doubled up the runner at first. Huntley struck out the next batter to end the rally before shutting down Golden West in the ninth for his second save of the season.
This was the first game of the season that the Gauchos have failed to hit for at least five total hits. They were able to make the most of their four hits by bringing home three out of five runners on the day.
“It’s an improvement over yesterday,” head coach Sommer McCartney said. “But we still have work to do.”
With the win Saddleback improves to 9-6 on the season and 1-2 in the Orange Empire Conference. The Gauchos play next at Santa Ana College on Thursday at 2 p.m. before returning home for another conference game against Orange Coast on Saturday at noon.