The Saddleback softball team notched a crucial win on Friday by a score of 8-0 over the Riverside City College Tigers at Trani Field. Starting pitcher, Nelsa Delagente, threw a two hit shutout against the Tigers while the team’s offense fired on all cylinders. The Gauchos stopped the game after only four and a half innings of play due to the mercy rule.
Haley Wilkerson rounding second base after a foul ball by fellow teammate. (Colin Reef/Lariat)
The Gauchos came into Friday’s game tied for third place with Riverside in the Orange Empire Conference standings. The Gauchos came on strong early in the bottom of the first inning scoring two quick runs.
Freshman Haleigh Wilkerson, was able to capitalize on an unforced error by Riverside’s shortstop Kailee Gilbert. Wilkerson reached first base with ease while also scoring the Gauchos first two runs.
They would closeout the top of the second inning giving up zero hits from their opponent. They would then take a commanding 5-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning scoring three more runs on to their already growing lead.
The Tigers gave up two costly errors that inning while the Gauchos had runners on base and in scoring position. The Tigers couldn’t get out of the inning after getting two quick outs. Starting catcher Reis Birkett and Wilkerson hit back-to-back singles in that inning scoring the three runners that had reached on errors.
Gauchos third baseman, Amanda Padilla, shows off her defense by charging a well placed bunt then throwing the runner out at first. (Colin Reef/ Lariat)
After a scoreless third inning from both teams, the Gauchos and Tigers moved into the fourth inning. Drew Moore, shortstop for the Gauchos, led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a line-drive to center field. Carley Buonarigo was up next and able to draw a walk. After a fielder’s choice out by the next batter both Moore and Buonarigo advanced to second and third base.
Once more, Wilkerson approached the plate and powerfully struck the ball to the shortstop where it was mishandled once more. Another Riverside error increased the deficit to 6-0. Power hitter and third baseman for the Gauchos, Amanda Padilla, struck a hard line-drive down the left side of the field scoring another run. The inning would end but not before the Gauchos scored one more run on a fielder’s choice.
Nelsa Delagente looked absolutely impressive on the mound for the Gauchos striking out six Tigers on two hits and zero runs earned. She helps her Gauchos cruise to an easy victory. Saddleback is now 19-12 in their overall record and 9-7 in Orange Empire Conference play. The Saddleback Softball team have three home games remaining on the season. They play Mt. San Jacinto on Monday, Orange Coast College the following Friday, and Cypress the Monday after that.