By Carlos Alvarez
In a rematch of last year’s Regional’s, the Huskies didn’t fare much better coming out on the losing side once again with a 3-2, season opening road loss to the Riverside City College Tigers Friday night.
Sophomore pitcher Sergio Luna started for the Huskies who fought off some early control problems. Luna (0-1) took the loss while pitching 5 innings, allowing 3 runs on 2 hits while striking out 8 Tigers.
“I was anxious to get this season started. I could’ve done better, but we competed,” Luna said.
Tigers starting pitcher sophomore Edgar Gomez fared much better. Gomez (1-0) got the win pitching six scoreless innings allowing one hit while fanning six Huskies. At one point in the game Gomez retired seven straight Huskies.
“Gomez had great stuff. We struggled big time against his fastball and slider,” Husky Head Coach James Hines said, when asked about Gomez’s performance.
After escaping some early trouble in the first inning Luna was chased for two runs in the bottom of the second. With runners on second and third, sophomore Chase Cuckovich of Riverside had a swinging bunt that scored the two runners to put the Tigers on top, 2-0.
“Luna pitched well. The two runs scored on a swinging bunt – go figure. Give credit to their base runners,” Hines said.
The Huskies offense struggled collecting a total of 5 hits for the game. The heart of the lineup collected 4 of the 5 hits, but they also combined for 6 strikeouts.
“With a quality pitcher your offense will struggle,” Hines said.
With the offense not producing, Luna gained his composure after the second inning striking out 5 of the next 9 batters he faced keeping the score 2-0 heading into the sixth inning.
After hitting the first batter he faced to start the sixth, Luna was replaced by sophomore Leonard De La Rosa. De La Rosa escaped a jam of his own, but not after allowing the inherited runner to score on a sacrifice fly by sophomore Daniel Arrellano. This made the score 3-0.
The Husky offense finally woke up in the top of the seventh inning scoring against the Tigers bullpen. The Huskies took advantage scoring two runs against relief pitcher sophomore Chris Oropesa.
Oropesa walked the first batter he faced and surrendered a double to the next batter putting runners in scoring position. Next to bat was sophomore Kyle Peralta who hit a sacrifice fly that scored the runner from third. The Huskies couldn’t capitalize on a big inning due to some base running mistakes, managing one more run in the inning to make the score 3-2.
“We outhit them. One more clutch hit and it’s a different game,” Hines said.
De La Rosa settled down pitching two scoreless innings to keep the score 3-2 keeping momentum on the Huskies side heading into their last at bat.
Peralta singled to start the ninth, but a failed sacrifice bunt by sophomore Joseph Tellez stranded him at first. Tigers sophomore relief pitcher Joseph Molina settled down and got the final two outs to get the save.
The Huskies have little time to think of the loss as they face the Tigers today at 5 p.m. “It’s one game we competed. (We) will be ready to go today,” Luna said.