By Seth Haygood
A fast start on offense and strong pitching helped the Riverside City College baseball team achieve its second straight sweep to open up conference play. There were a few key plays throughout the game that beat down Orange Coast College and got the Tigers fired up. One of those plays came in the second inning when Adrian Arechiga made solid contact with the ball resulting in a triple.
“I had two strikes and he just threw a curveball away on the black. I saw it and I had a feeling he was going to go back to it,” Arechiga said. “So I was sitting that pitch and he threw it again. I was able to get the barrel and push it down the line for a triple.”
After taking the early lead, sophomore starting pitcher David Butler took over, pitching for 8 innings and striking out 8 batters.
Despite the fourth inning where he gave up three runs, Butler stayed consistent and retired 14 straight batters.
“(I was) just trying to conserve energy,” said Butler. “Trying not to do too much. Letting my defense work behind me.”
With the win, RCC has now won 12 straight games. However, they expect to improve and grow as the season continues.
“Even though we’ve come off of two consecutive sweeps, which is a rarity, you don’t expect that. The crazy part is that there’s a lot to be desired,” head coach Rudy Arguelles said. “We’re still making some mistakes whether it be with signs or whether it be execution, offensively (or) defensively. So in that retrospect, we should be excited because we’re not playing our best but we’re finding ways to get W’s.”
Riverside secured the 6-3 victory even without their best player, Matthew Bardowell. The sophomore outfielder leads the team in home runs but was left out of the starting lineup and only appeared in one at-bat in the 9th inning.
“Sometimes guys just need breaks. With Bardowell, he’s dealt with some injuries, so that’s why he’s had some inconsistencies if you look from the beginning of the season to where we’re at,” Arguelles said. “So as good as his overall statistics are, we felt it was a good time to try to give him a breather.”
The Tigers will try to extend their winning streak on March 23rd at Irvine Valley College. The team knows they can’t take any opponent lightly.
“(We have to prepare) the same way we prepare for any game. Hard work and practice,” Arechiga said. “Focus on our individual work. Try to perfect it as much as we can.”