Facebook photo album
The Irvine Valley baseball team leveled its season series with Riverside with a 6-4 Orange Empire Conference victory on Saturday afternoon at home.
Each team has won a game, heading into the finale of the three-game set next Tuesday at Riverside.
The win on Saturday also halted a three-game losing streak for Irvine Valley.
The Lasers improved their record to 12-19 overall and 5-11 in conference, while Riverside fell to 16-15 overall and 9-7 in conference.
Irvine Valley took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning on a RBI double by freshman designated hitter Eric Peruzzi.
The Lasers increased their lead with a four-run bottom of the fifth inning. Freshman center fielder Camden Huger started off the inning with a single to right center.
Two batters later, freshman catcher Ryan Wagner singled down the left field line to put runners on first and third. And sophomore shortstop Sean Guite's sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third with two outs.
Sophomore third baseman Jordan Geiger's hard infield hit scored Huger.
With runners on first and third and two outs, Geiger took off for second base and when Riverside catcher Jacob Rogers threw down to second, Wagner raced home from third base. Wagner beat the throw back home for Irvine Valley's second run of the inning.
Sophomore second baseman Scott Kaplan then hit an RBI double to make it a 4-0 game.
Freshman right fielder Colby Neal-Tan followed and hit a ground ball that got past Riverside's second baseman and right fielder, allowing Kaplan to score. It gave Irvine Valley a 5-0 lead.
Riverside pushed across a run in the top of the sixth on a RBI single by Ricardo Rodriguez. But the Tigers could have had more. Rodriguez's hit came with the bases loaded and Huger threw out Chase Cuckovich at home on the play.
Irvine Valley got the run back in the bottom of the sixth inning when Huger stole third base and then came home on a throwing error by Riverside catcher Tyler Rahier.
Riverside climbed to within 6-2 in the top of the seventh after Daniel Arellano hit a solo home run off Irvine Valley starting pitcher Bryan Castelli to lead off the frame.
And things got interesting in the top of the ninth. Brad Burcroff walked and Arellano singled for Riverside off IVC relief pitcher Raul Dorantes. Freshman Paul Lang then replaced Dorantes. Jackson Jones reached on a fielding error to load the bases with no outs.
Maurice Rodriguez hit into a fielder's choice to bring in one run and make it a 6-3 game. Elijah Briseno then singled down the left field line to score Arellano and make it 6-4. Briseno also advanced to second on an error on the play, putting runners on second and third with one out. Briseno was the tying run.
But Lang proceeded to retire the next two batters, getting a fly out and a ground out to end the game and pick up the save.
Castelli earned the win for Irvine Valley, improving his record to 2-0. It was just his second start of the season and longest outing of the year. He threw 114 pitches. Castelli went eight innings and allowed two runs on eight hits with three strikeouts.
Riverside did out-hit Irvine Valley, 10-7, in the contest.
Kaplan was 2 for 2 with two runs scored and one RBI to lead the Lasers.
Arellano was 2 for 4 with the home run, two runs and one RBI, Joe Ortuno went 2 for 2 and Jones was 2 for 4 for the Tigers.
Jordan Mejia took the loss on the mound. He went 4 2/3 innings, giving up five runs (four earned) on seven hits with two walks and one strikeout. His record dropped to 3-2.