Matt Reyes (Shannon Patrick)
The Orange Empire Conference officially began last Thursday afternoon for both Saddleback College and Irvine Valley College. The Gauchos hosted IVC, defeating their sister school in the bottom of the ninth inning with the bases loaded and a hit by pitch to win the game.
Sophomore Robby Ross pitched 7.2 innings for the Gauchos. Ross struck out four batters, walked no one and left the game with three earned runs. Freshmen Tim Troyer pitched the last 1.1 innings with no walks and no earned runs, while only allowing one hit to earn the win.
As for IVC, Sophomore Matt Reyes started the game pitching 6.1 innings with four strikeouts, one walk, two earned runs and one unintentional run. Sophomore Jared Haller came in for 1.2 innings as he struck out two, walked no one, allowed one run, and gave up two hits.
The Gauchos scored first in the second inning with a RBI double by sophomore Trevor Whyte. The lead didn’t last too long when the Lasers scored two runs in the top of the third inning. Sophomore Connor Rhoads singled to right field to drive in sophomore Alonzo Vasquez. Sophomore Robbie Robinson singled to score sophomore Sean Williams, giving the Lasers a 2-1 lead.
Sophomore Jeff Montenegro sacrificed a bunt in the fifth inning to score freshmen Darren Coombs. Montenegro’s RBI tied the game at 2-2.
Freshman Chris Mata doubled in the bottom of the seventh inning after left fielder Paul Sandoval failed a diving catch. Montenegro bunted and arrived safely at first base when no one covered the bag. Runners were now on the corners with one out. After sophomore Kelvin Mota flew out, freshmen Brett Vertigan stepped up to the plate. Montenegro took a big lead off first and IVC pitcher Haller threw to attempt a third out. Mata took off from third base to score the third run for Saddleback. Montenegro then safely arrived at second base.
IVC tied the game in the top of the eighth inning when Robinson doubled to left field to drive in Williams.
Saddleback won the game in the ninth inning 4-3 after loading up the bases with only one out. Mota became the game-winning hero after IVC’s freshmen Gary Gerhardt hit Mota, which allowed sophomore Cole Mitro to score the fourth run for Saddleback.
On Saturday, Saddleback played at Orange Coast College, taking another victory with a score of 11-2. IVC hosted Golden West, winning 6-4.
On Thursday, the Gauchos (12-7, 2-0) head to Fullerton (6-10-1, 1-1) while IVC (8-7, 1-1) hosts Riverside (10-7, 1-1). Both games begin at 2 p.m.