The Saddleback baseball team bounced back from a loss on Tuesday with an 8-5 win over Riverside City College on Thursday at Doug Fritz Field. The Gauchos moved within a game of first place in the standings with the win.
Saddleback entered the game looking for answers after a heartbreaking loss to RCC on Tuesday in Riverside. The Gauchos found some answers in the first two innings, taking a 7-0 advantage and never relinquishing the lead.
Saddleback opened the game by sending nine batters to the plate in the opening inning. The Gauchos scored five runs in the inning, recording four hits, a walk and a hit batsman in the frame.
Riverside then changed pitchers in the second inning in order to try and change the momentum. It didn't work as Saddleback scored another two runs, with Brett O'Toole and Mike Jarvis singling home runners for a 7-0 lead.
Riverside score two runs in the third inning and one in the fourth in closing the gap to 7-3. The Gauchos answered with a run of their own in the bottom half of the fourth inning when Willie Lajoie had a sacrifice fly to score Brett Auerbach for an 8-3 advantage.
Both squads would have their opportunities over the next four innings but neither would score as the pitching staffs managed to get out of a handful of jams. Saddleback starter Bradley Spooner got out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the seventh inning when Shane Martinez lined out to center field to preserve the 5-run lead. Alex Kent then got out of a jam in the eighth inning for Saddleback by striking out Tuesday-star, Junior Coleman, with two runners on base.
Riverside would score a pair of runs in the ninth inning to close the gap to 8-5. Kent would then get Mario Gonzalez to ground back to the pitcher with runners on second and third for the final out of the game.
Jarvis was the offensive star for Saddleback, finishing 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run-scored. O'Toole (pictured) finished 2-for-2 with two RBI of his own.
Spooner pitched through the seventh inning in improving to 4-0 on the season. He struck out seven while spreading around seven hits in a 107-pitch performance.
Saddleback (17-4, 3-2) and Riverside City (16-6, 3-2) are tied for third place in the Orange Empire Conference following the win. The two squads will meet again in the rubber match on Saturday at 12:00 PM at Doug Fritz Field.