By Dalila Romero
In walk off fashion, the Riverside City College baseball team escaped its low scoring match up with the victory.
The Tigers were able to defeat the Golden West College Rustlers with a line drive from Jerrad Gonzalez in the 10th inning on March 7 at the Evans Sports Complex.
The Tigers seemed to have secured the last out of the ninth inning, but an error kept Golden West alive, and the Rustlers scored the tying run to send the game into extra innings.
“When we lost the lead and it was tied, we had to slow ourselves down and trust our abilities,” sophomore outfielder Matthew Bardowell said. “Every guy on this roster has put in a tremendous amount of work to prepare for the season, just living for moments like that, that’s the reason why you play is to be in situations like that.”
RCC had the chance to win it in the bottom of the ninth, but could not capitalize, leaving the bases loaded and sending the game to extra innings.
Coming into the bottom of the tenth inning, the Tigers knew they had to regroup and keep their foot on the gas.
With one out and Adrian Arechiga on third, the pressure fell on freshman infielder Jerred Gonzalez. And delivered the game winning drive down the left field line securing the victory for the Tigers.
“Showed a little bit of resilience there,” head coach Rudy Argulles said. “The ability to bounce back and bounce back immediately.”
Riverside’s leading hitter was sophomore left fielder Adrian Arechiga. He reached base on all five at bats with three hits and two walks.
The Tigers only other offense came from freshman infielder Robert Phelps’ two run single in the second inning.
RCC carried the momentum onto the defensive side, not allowing the Rustlers to score until the fifth inning.
The Tigers now shift their focus to preparation for the second game of the series.
“Go to work tomorrow,” Argulles said. “Get ready to try and execute at a higher percentage this coming Thursday.”
Both the Tigers and Rustlers came into the contest on six game winning streaks. Argulles noted the competition will be stiff during the three-game series.
“That is to be expected when you are going to face anybody in this conference,” Argulles said. “It’s a gauntlet and you know every team top to bottom is capable of playing championship caliber baseball.”
With tough opponents like Golden West, the Tigers went to work during the week to prepare for a hard fought match up.
“The preparation comes from our coaches doing their homework on our opponent,” Bardowell said. “During practice, we had been doing drills that would match up with what they possess as a team.”
The Tigers are now 12-4 this season.
RCC will head to Golden West College to take on the Rustlers once again on March 9 for game two of a three game series.