Last season, the Irvine Valley College baseball team won 30 games for the first time in the team’s history. The Lasers also had their best conference finish ever with an Orange Empire Conference record of 13-8, which was good for third in the conference. If these early games are any good barometer, the Lasers are in for another very successful season.
IVC started their season off on Tuesday Jan. 27 against Long Beach City College. In what was a tight one for a majority of the game, the Lasers trailed 2-1 going into the bottom of the eighth inning. With one out and a man on, shortstop Vince Hungerford punched an RBI single into left field to tie the score at 2.
Later in the inning with two outs and the bases loaded, center fielder Thomas Mobley would draw a walk to bring in what would end up being the winning run. IVC would add six more runs in the inning including two RBI double by third baseman Anthony Gutierrez and a three RBI double by right fielder Robbie Robinson.
At the plate, Gutierrez went two-for-five on the day, and Robinson was two-for-four. Catcher Corey Thibault and designated hitter Paul Sandoval each finished two-for-three on the day and each had one RBI.
On the mound, the Lasers started left-hander Jared Haller. Haller went five innings, allowing two runs on three hits and gave up three walks. Haller also threw four strikeouts. The IVC bullpen pitched four shutout innings and gave up only two hits between the four relievers.
Reliever Andrew Jimenez earned the win, even though he faced only one batter for one out.
“It was a big one,” head coach Kent Madole said.
Jimenez got the Long Beach hitter to line out to end the top of the eighth inning with runners on second and third.
On Thursday, Jan. 29 through Saturday Jan. 31, IVC traveled to Bakersfield to compete in the Bakersfield Tournament.
In the Lasers first game on Thursday against Los Angeles Pierce, starter Matt Reyes put up a performance he won’t forget any time soon. In a 6-3 win, Reyes threw 10 strikeouts in his six innings pitched. Mixed in with Reyes’ strikeouts were streaks of four straight and five out of six batters. He gave up only one run, a solo home run in the first inning, on four hits and two walks.
After the early one-run deficit, the Lasers gave Reyes some offensive back-up with four runs in the second inning and single runs in the fifth and sixth innings. Catcher Connor Rhoads and first baseman Jon Saldana broke open the game as each hit a double in that big second inning. Second baseman Sean Williams also provided with his bat going three-for-for with an RBI and two runs scored. Center fielder Thomas Mobley was two-for-three with a triple and two runs scored.
Reliever Zak Nuno took the ball from Reyes in the seventh and kept Los Angeles Pierce down. Nuno earned the save three innings pitched with two hits and four strikeouts.
IVC would play two games on Friday in the tournament. Gary Gerhardt was scheduled to start against Sequoias in the first game, and Mike Sianez was scheduled to start the second game against Moorpark. The Lasers would finish the tournament on Saturday against Palomar. The results of the final three games were not available at the time of the writing of this article.
After a road game at Los Angeles Harbor College on Tuesday Feb. 3, IVC returns home on Thursday Feb. 5 to take on San Diego Mesa College.