Riverside, Calif. – Avoiding a sweep of the three-game conference series, the Golden West College (GWC) Rustlers pushed across the go-ahead run in the top of the 12th inning and edged the host Riverside City College (RCC) Tigers, 3-2, Thursday afternoon in an Orange Empire Conference (OEC) game at the Evans Sports Complex.
Golden West (17-11-1, 9-6 OEC) received some timely two-out hitting when freshman SS Kyle Jones (Huntington Beach / Edison HS) dumped a shallow fly ball into short right field which eluded a diving RCC freshman RF Ryan Garvey (Palm Desert / Palm Desert HS). Jones might have wound up with a triple, but he tripped over second base and had to settle for a double. Sophomore RF Josh Cunningham (Savanna HS) drilled a RBI single to center field for the winning 3-2 margin. Cunningham went three for four to lead the Rustlers.
The game was scoreless through seven innings when GWC scored twice. Riverside (16-14, 9-6 OEC) scored in the eighth and ninth innings to send the game into extra innings.
RCC freshman 1B Daniel Arellano (Corona / Centennial HS) singled and scored on an infield error in the eighth. In the ninth, freshman DH Seth Walston (Hemet HS) walked, stole second with two outs and scored on a RBI single by sophomore LF Grady Espinosa (Yucaipa HS) to tie the game at 2-2. Espinosa went two for five for the Tigers.
RCC freshman RHP Blake Burrell (Moreno Valley / Canyon Springs HS) went the first nine innings and received a "no decision" for his efforts to keep his record at 5-0. Burrell allowed two runs (both earned) on six hits with no walks and seven strikeouts on 104 pitches (78 strikes). His counterpart, GWC freshman RHP Nic Hanson (Huntington Beach HS) was more than effective as he lasted 7-1/3 innings and allowed one run (unearned) on five hits with no walks and six strikeouts.
GWC freshman RHP Spencer Giron (Long Beach) went the final 3-1/3 innings to notch the victory and improve to 1-1, while Riverside freshman RHP Joe Molina, who pitched the final three frames, took the loss (0-2).
Both teams – now tied for third place in the OEC, one game behind second-place Santa Ana – return to action on Saturday, Apr. 14, at 12 p.m. when RCC visits the Irvine Valley College (IVC) Lasers and GWC visits the Orange Coast College (OCC) Pirates in OEC action.