By Jesus Coronel
Poor fielding and clutch hitting led the Riverside City College baseball team to its tenth straight win.
Heading into the seventh inning, the game was tied at 2 with RCC needing someone to step up to the plate.
With two outs and a runner at first base, standout Tiger fielder Casey Murray Jr. hit a routine single to center field. However Pirates outfielder Zach Dickason mishandled the ball, allowing Murray to advance to second as the winning run scored off the error.
Riverside turned to sophomore relief pitcher Albert Roblez to stop the Pirates from making a comeback.
He struggled in the eighth inning but eventually settled down without giving up any runs. Roblez recorded the save and set the tone for the series, giving the Tigers their 15th victory.
“It just feels good to win,” Murray said. “It’s our fourth straight conference win and we are undefeated in conference too.”
But even though the team was able to come out on top, head coach Rudy Arguelles wasn’t happy with offensive miscommunications during the game.
“We missed eleven total signs on offense and we lost focus,” he said. “That’s not who we are.”
Those missed signs led to some baserunning errors, which included an easy out from OCC when Tigers shortstop Sebastian Flores failed to get into scoring position and apply more pressure in the eighth inning.
“We weren’t locked in. (We were) missing too many signs and that was a crucial part of our game,” Murray said. “We need to know the signs more and practice it often.”
The lack of chemistry left a lot to be desired for Arguelles, especially for future games.
“It’s not so much the close performance because we are in a tough conference,” he said. “It’s what is supposed to prepare them for the ultimate goal.”
Working on the small details will be Arguelles’s priority as the team looks to continue the win streak heading into the middle of the season.
“We need to slow down, take a deep breath,” sophomore designated hitter Matthew Bardowell said. “Just remember who we are and the work we put in.”
The Tigers will travel to OCC to play the second game of the three game series against the Pirates on March 16.