The Saddleback baseball team opened the playoffs with a 2-1 win at Long Beach City College on Friday in Long Beach. The Gaucho pitching was outstanding, holding the Vikings to zero earned runs.
Daniel Harris spent most of the season as the No. 2 starter in the rotation but coach Sommer McCartney decided to mix things up and start Harris in the opening game of the playoffs. Harris delivered a gem, shutting down the high-powered offense of the No. 4-seed and putting Saddleback within one win of advancing to the second round of the playoffs.
Harris gave up an unearned run in the bottom of the first inning when the Gauchos committed a pair of errors to tie the game at 1-1. From then on he was nearly flawless, spreading around a handful of hits while the offense provided just enough to secure the win. He left after seven innings and turned the ball over to Devin Sutorius, who slammed the door shut by recording six straight outs for his first save of the season. Harris surrendered seven hits over seven innings, striking out two while walking none in improving to 5-6 on the season.
Saddleback scored a run in the top half of the first inning by taking advantage of a Long Beach error. Andrew Wilson reached on an error by the shortstop with one out in the inning and came around to score two batters later when Tyler Clark singled him home.
Saddleback regained the lead in the third inning when Jerry Carrillo doubled with one out in the inning and later scored on a two-out single by Brett Auerbach. Carrillo finished 2-for-4 on the day along with Clark as the Gauchos mustered seven hits against Long Beach ace Jacob Gregg.
Saddleback now leads the best-of-three series 1-0. The Gauchos (26-15) and Vikings (26-14-1) will play game two on Saturday at 11:00 AM. If Saddleback wins, they advance to the second round of the playoffs starting next Friday. A loss would force a game three later in the day.