The Saddleback baseball team ended a 5-game losing streak with a 4-0 win at Golden West College on Tuesday afternoon in Huntington Beach. Pitcher Scott Armstrong led the Gauchos with a brilliant performance as Saddleback moved up two spots in the Orange Empire Conference standings.
Making just his second start of the season, Armstrong pitched through seven innings in picking up his second win of the year. The freshman from Woodbridge High School was sensational, allowing just two hits while striking out five Rustlers along the way.
Saddleback scored solo runs in the first and third innings to take a 2-0 lead on Golden West. Ryan Thibert led off the game with a double and quickly came in to score when Zack Bowman singled with one out in the inning. The Gauchos made it 2-0 when Reed Beverly singled home Riley Kasper with two outs in the top of the third inning.
Saddleback extended the lead to 4-0 in the top half of the sixth inning. Chris Demgen led off the inning with a single and later stole second base. Nick Lopez made the Rustlers pay with a double to drive in Demgen, and later scored from third base on a wild pitch from Wyatt Adams.
Armstrong gave way to Nick Anz on the mound to start the eighth inning. Anz proceeded to walk the first batter, but quickly got things turned around in retiring the next three batters. He gave way to Ethan Holt in the ninth inning, who made quick work of Golden West in the bottom half of the ninth inning...striking out Austin Schell for the final out of the game.
Saddleback improved to 14-11 overall and 4-6 in Orange Empire Conference play with the win. It was the second shutout of the season for the Saddleback pitching staff, who previously beat Grossmont College, 1-0, on February 22.
Five different Gauchos finished with at least two hits in the game as Saddleback outhit Golden West 13-2 on the day. Thibert led the way, finishing 3-for-5.
Saddleback climbed into a tie with Golden West and Cypress for fourth place after the Chargers lost to Irvine Valley on Tuesday, 5-2. The Gauchos and Rustlers will play game two of the series on Thursday at Doug Fritz Field. The scheduled start time is 2:00 PM.