The Saddleback baseball team will open the 2017 Southern California Regional Playoffs at Long Beach City College starting on Friday. The Gauchos were the No. 13-seed after finishing in a tie for third place in the Orange Empire Conference.
Saddleback finished the season 25-15 overall and 11-10 in the OEC. The Gauchos will face a red hot Long Beach City (4-seed) team that swept the previous top-ranked team in the state (El Camino) in the final week of the season to gain a tie for the South Coast League South Division title. The Vikings finished 26-13-1 overall and 17-5 in SCS play.
Despite being located just 41 miles from one another, Saddleback and Long Beach City have met only 10 times in the history of the program with the Gauchos leading the lifetime series, 8-2. During the season, LBCC finished 3-6 against Orange Empire Conference teams while Saddleback was 2-0 against South Coast South programs.
Inside the numbers, Long Beach City ranks No. 14 in the state in team batting average (.305) and is 15th in the state in home runs (24). The Vikings are No. 18 in the state with a 3.36 team ERA. Saddleback is ranked 50th in batting average (.272), 51st in home runs (9) and No. 9 in the state in team ERA (3.15).
The two clubs will open the best-of-three series on Friday at 2:00 PM. Game two is scheduled for Saturday at 11:00 AM with a game three to follow, if necessary.