With strong pitching and solid defense, the Gauchos won their home opener 2-0 against the determined San Diego City College Knights.
Starting pitcher Tanner Brubaker, a right-hander, and sophomore from San Clemente Cal Baptist, threw six strong innings, striking out six and only giving up one hit and no runs.
The calendar said late January, but for the home opener at Saddleback College, it was a beautiful spring day. The temperature at game time was in the mid 60s, sunny skies, and light wind straight out center field.
For most, spring means a new beginning and with the home opener Saddleback College debuted a remodeled baseball field with new bleachers, press box, playing field, and fresh paint.
To finish the game Alex Kent, sophomore, took the mound to relieve Brubaker at the start of the seventh inning, followed by freshman Zak Herbers to close out the game in the ninth.
Backing up the hurlers was some impressive defense. The busiest player during the game was shortstop sophomore Mike Jarvis, who contributed six, 6-3 outs. As the game progressed, his arm and accuracy got sharper and stronger.
Jarvis said he contributed his jitters to “opening day butterflies” and once that first grounder came to him, he fielded the ball and made the out, then he relaxed and regained his confidence.
San Diego City Knights kept the game close with giving up only five hits, seven strikeouts by starting pitcher Jake Lipetzky, getting himself into numerous jams only to find a way out during each inning. The closest that the Knights came to a run was a deep drive to center that brought center fielder, Jo-Jo Quintanilla to the warning track to make the out.
Head Coach Sommer McCartney was pleased to have an opening day win and felt confident about his players and the season.
“The defense was exceptional with Mike Jarvis being busy at shortstop, and Brubaker keeping the Knights in check,” he said.
McCartney said he would like to see more offensive “quality bats” to keep opposing teams on their heels.
“As the season progresses, that will happen with our offense,” he added.
The next game for the Gauchos will be on the road against the San Diego City College Knights in at San Diego City College, San Diego.
For more information about the Gauchos Men’s Baseball 2018 season, visit www.saddlebackgauchos.com.