The Saddleback baseball team defeated Southwestern College, 2-1, on Tuesday afternoon at Doug Fritz Field. The Gauchos scored with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning for the win.
Saddleback and Southwestern were cruising along in the quickest game of the season. The Gauchos stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning with the game less than two hours old, tied at 1-1.
Saddleback looked as if they were going to end it quickly as Reed Beverly led off the inning by getting hit by a pitch. He then stole second and advanced to third base on the next pitch when pitcher Octavio Sanchez tried to pick him off and threw the ball into center field. Unfortunately, the Gauchos would have to work a bit harder as Chris Demgen went down on strikes and Hank Schineller hit a line shot to center field that was caught, forcing Beverly to hold at third base. It all came down to Nick Lopez, who worked the count full before hitting one towards the hole on the left side of the infield. The ball would avoid both the third baseman and shortstop, driving in Beverly with the winning run.
Lopez was one of two Gauchos with multiple hits, as Ryan Thibert went 3-for-4 at the plate on the afternoon. Lopez finished 2-for-4 with one run scored and one RBI.
Saddleback received great pitching from the combination of starter Nick Hernandez and reliever Ethan Holt. Hernandez started and gave up a solo bomb in the first inning before settling down. He would retire 13 in a row at one point, working through the seventh inning. Holt took over in the top of the eighth inning and was flawless. He pitched two scoreless innings for his first win of the season, surrendering no base-runners.
Saddleback improved to 4-3 with the win. The Gauchos now have the second half of the double-header, as they will face Glendale College at 6:00 PM. Saddleback and Glendale were supposed to play on Wednesday, but the game was moved up to today due to the chances of rain on Wednesday.