The Saddleback softball team picked up an important win on Friday with an 8-0 victory over Riverside City College at Trani Field. Nelsa Delagente silenced the Tigers while the offensive took advantage of a number of defensive miscues by Riverside.
Saddleback entered tied with Riverside in the standings and needed a win in order to remain in third place in the Orange Empire Conference standings. The Gauchos made an early statement by scoring two runs in the bottom of the first inning and three more in the second to take a 5-0 lead.
Saddleback received some help from Riverside in the opening frame when Haliegh Wilkerson reached first base on an error by shortstop Kailee Gilbert, allowing two runs to score for a 2-0 lead. They received more help in the second when the Tigers committed two more errors, giving Saddleback runners at first and second base with two outs in the inning. The Gauchos made them pay as Reis Birkett and Wilkerson had back-to-back singles, scoring three more unearned runs.
The game moved to the bottom of the fourth inning and Saddleback again took advantage of defensive mishaps by RCC. Drew Moore led off the inning with a single and was followed by a walk to Carley Buonarigo. After a groundout by Birkett, the Gauchos had runners at second and third base with one out in the inning. Wilkerson again hit a ball sharply to shortstop that was booted, allowing Moore to score the sixth run of the game. Amanda Padilla followed with a single through the left side of the infield, bringing home Buonarigo for a 7-0 lead. Two batters later, Padilla scored on a fielder's choice by Delagente, giving Saddleback an eight-run cushion.
Delagente was solid on the hill, pitching five innings of two-hit ball while walking none. She finished with six strikeouts for the game in improving to 17-12 on the year.
Saddleback is now 19-12 overall and 9-7 in Orange Empire Conference play. The Gauchos have a pair of non-conference battles on the schedule as they travel to Southwestern College on Saturday for a 12:00 PM start and return home Monday to host Mt. San Jacinto College at 2:00 PM.