The Saddleback baseball team took the rubber match of a three-game series with an 8-1 win over Riverside City College on Saturday at Doug Fritz Field. With the win, the Gauchos are now tied for second place in the Orange Empire Conference.
Saddleback and Riverside entered the series ranked No. 1 and No. 3 in the southern half of the state, respectively, setting the stage for a competitive series between two perceived heavyweights. The Gauchos ended up getting the best of the Tigers by taking 2-of-3 after an easy win on Saturday.
Saddleback scored runs in each of the first four innings in taking control of the game. The Gauchos led 8-0 heading into the ninth inning before Riverside broke through for its lone run of the game.
Willie Lajoie had a big day at the plate for Saddleback, finishing 3-for-4 with one RBI and one run-scored. Spencer Heinsius collected two hits of his own while Mike Jarvis and Chad Crosbie had two RBI apiece.
Saddleback started Daniel Harris on the hill after a month layoff and he was solid through four innings before giving way to the bullpen. Harris allowed just two hits while striking out four before Ellis Jensen came on in relief. Jensen pitched into the ninth inning in improving to 3-1 on the season before Connor Sealey was brought in to record the final out of the game.
Saddleback improved to 18-4 overall and 4-2 in Orange Empire Conference play with the win. The Gauchos are one game back of Fullerton College in the OEC standings, tied with Orange Coast College for second place.
Saddleback and Fullerton (12-9, 5-1) start a three-game series next Tuesday. The first game of the series is scheduled for 2:00 PM at Doug Fritz Field.