By Dalila Romero
In the first game of the playoffs, the Riverside City College’s baseball team followed a recent trend of poor pitching and inconsistent offense.
The Tigers lost the first game of the 3C2A Southern Regional Round One playoffs series to Grossmont College 14-3 on May 5.
RCC came into the playoffs after finishing conference play with a record of 15-6, good enough for the third seed.
“We can’t let the record fool us and it did for a little bit,” Riverside head coach Rudy Argulles said. “We need some leadership and some guys to step up.”
RCC struck first in the match up with a solo homerun to center field by sophomore center fielder Casey Murray Jr in the bottom of the first inning. Unfortunately for the Tigers they would not score again until the seventh inning.
“For sure I would like to see our pitch selection at the plate improve,” Murray said.
In the second inning the Grossmont College Griffins were too much for starting pitcher sophomore Hayden Coon, scoring four runs and knocking Coon out of the game.
From then on the Tigers were unable to find a solution to the Griffin’s lineup, going to the bullpen multiple times.
“Hopefully we can get somebody on the mound to step up,” Argulles said. “And give us a quality performance to allows us to win.”
“Our pitching staff obviously didn’t have their best stuff today,” Murray said. “But we are just hoping to improve for tomorrow.”
The Tigers pitching rotation was not the only weakness, with the offense being a struggle for RCC too.
Argulles also noticed the struggle, opting to pull his starters to see the abilities of the players coming off the bench.
“It is just the matter of seeing lack of competitiveness and lack of focus,” he said. “Instead of letting that continue let’s see what we can get and see from those guys coming off the bench and could maybe carry on into some line up changes.”
Although it did not help the Tigers secure the win, bringing in players from the bench did contribute to two late inning runs to make the loss seem better than it was.
“That just goes to show how much depth we have on this team,” sophomore Nathan Aldaz said. “Every one of our players is very talented in their own skill set.”
RCC will get back to work in the morning to prepare for what could be their final match of the season.
“This is the last opportunity and we have to do what we came to do,” sophomore first baseman Jordan Ruiz said. “What we have been working on all season, this is our time.”
The Tigers will be taking into account their weaknesses and their strengths to make changes necessary to be successful.
“We came up a little short today, but we have the opportunity to come up tomorrow and make those adjustments,” Ruiz said. “And that’s what we are going to try and do tomorrow.”
Riverside will be back at the Samuel E. Sports Complex on May 6. In order to advance in the playoffs, the team must sweep a doubleheader against Grossmont.
“It is a must win game for us and if we don’t our season is over,” Murray said. “We just have to win two games and we’ve prepared for it.”
The Tigers would eventually be swept by the Griffins, ending their season much earlier than expected.