Saddleback closes season with walk-off shutout victory over Riverside in extras

Gaucho sophomore starter Tyler Brashears battles the Tiger hitters for eight shutout innings in the Saddleback College victory over Riverside, 1-0, on Thursday at Doug Fritz field. Photo by: Matt Corkill

Gaucho sophomore starter Tyler Brashears battles the Tiger hitters for eight shutout innings in the Saddleback College victory over Riverside, 1-0, on Thursday at Doug Fritz field.
Photo by: Matt Corkill

The Saddleback College Gauchos were able to persevere through a pitchers duel in their extra inning walk-off victory against the Riverside City College Tigers, 1-0, on Thursday at Doug Fritz field in Mission Viejo.

Saddleback sophomore shortstop Casey Bennett came through in the bottom of the eleventh with a single that took a huge hop off of the infield grass over the Tiger’s diving first baseman into right field that gave freshman Alex King, who started the inning off with a single of his own to right before being advanced on a freshman Casey Worden sacrifice, the opportunity to come around and score the game winner when the Tiger’s catcher Michael Deceglie couldn’t make the play at the plate. This is the first ever walk off for Bennett and he couldn’t pick a better time to come up clutch with this being the final regular season home game for the Gaucho sophomores and the Southern California regional playoffs starting next week.

“It’s feels pretty good, it’s my first walk off  in my life and that guy was out there dealing so it feels good to come through for the team,” Casey Bennett said following the victory. “We battled, the pitchers haven’t given up a run in twenty innings, we’ll take that any day, defense played well and we kept grinding to finally get a hit when we needed it.”

Sophomore starter Tyler Brashears returned to form in his fifth start of the season as he battled for eight innings with seven strikeouts while only allowing three hits and a walk before being relieved by sophomore Colman Huntley (5-2) for the last three innings in route to victory. The Riverside Tigers starter Tyler Row (4-3) threw a gem of his own going the entire length while only allowing four hits and the deciding run in the bottom of the eleventh inning on Bennett’s game winning walk-off single.

For 20 straight innings the Gaucho pitching staff shut out the Riverside lineup allowing a total of eight hits to sweep the regular season series against the Tigers, 3-0, and close the season on a strong note.

“The beginning of the year was a struggle, things just weren’t right and I’ve been working my way back and tonight I just put it all together for a good start,” pitcher Tyler Brashears said. “It was a great overall effort, we’ve faced some really tough pitching the last two games and we just battled and stayed in the game to find a way to win.”

With the win the Gauchos (22-14, 13-8) secured third place in the OEC standings a game behind both OCC (27-9, 14-7) and Santa Ana (25-11, 14-7), but more importantly gained momentum going into the Southern California regional playoffs that start next week at a location and time to be determined. Saddleback has now made the playoffs in 14 out of the past 20 seasons while being 65-48 overall and 32-30 in OEC play under head coach Sommer McCartney since his arrival before the 2012 season.

“It was great to win, a night game and last home game, it was great that we pulled it out there,” head coach Sommer McCartney said. ” I think playing our last two games and winning those tight games like that we’re looking forward to the playoffs for sure. It was a great night, even if we had lost that game we played hard, we competed and so did they.”

 

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