The Saddleback baseball team opened the 2018 campaign with a 2-0 win over San Diego City College on Friday at Doug Fritz Field. Gaucho pitchers combined for a two-hitter in front of a solid crowd on opening day.
Saddleback opened the newly renovated stadium and gave fans plenty of reason to be optimistic. The pitching staff was dominant as San Diego City never had a runner advance past second base.
It started with Tanner Brubaker, who retired the first 13 batters he faced before giving up his first hit with one out in the fifth inning. Brubaker would complete six innings before leaving, striking out seven while walking just one in opening the season 1-0.
Next up in the pitching rotation on Friday was Alex Kent, who made things look fairly easy in his two innings of work. The Knights managed one hit off of Kent in the eighth inning and looked as if they were threatening to tighten the game with the Gauchos up 2-0. Kent then managed to get pinch-hitter Bryan Reyes to line out to shortstop Mike Jarvis as the threat was averted.
Zak Herbers came on in the ninth inning to shut the door on San Diego City to pick up his first save of the season. Herbers made quick work of the Knights, throwing just a handful of pitches.
Saddleback's staff finished with eight strikeouts and one walk over nine innings, recording its first shutout since April 11 of last season.
On offense, Saddleback struck first in the bottom of the opening inning when returning All-Orange Empire Conference catcher Brett Auerbach drove in the first run of the season. With Mike Jarvis on second base and one out, Auerbach drove a ball deep into the gap in left-center field. Jarvis came home to score while Auerbach ended up all the way at third base with his first triple of the season.
Saddleback added an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh inning for a 2-0 advantage. Turner Knight walked with one out in the inning and advanced to second base on a balk. After being replaced for a pinch runner, Jo-Jo Quintanilla singled to center field with two outs in the inning to drive home Landen Moran with the second run of the game.
Saddleback will meet the Knights again on Saturday when they travel to San Diego for game two of the season. Game time is scheduled for 12:00 PM in San Diego.