COD (3-9) had huge innings in the first, third and fourth, then had to hold on for dear life as the Roadrunners got a hard fought win over the Citrus Fighting Owls (6-5), 11-9.
After a rough top of the first, where the Owls scored three runs, Desert got to work and scored four runs to take the lead in the bottom half of the frame. Freshman left fielder, and leadoff hitter, Joshua Hernandez (Palm Desert H.S.) led off the inning with a single to left and freshman short stop Nathanael Tiaga (Indio Shadow Hills) followed that up with a single to left field, moving Hernandez into scoring position. Then it became a hit parade, as freshman second baseman Nathaniel Lopez (Palm Desert H.S.) singled to score Hernandez and then freshman first baseman Jonathan Mejia (Palm Desert H.S.) hit an infield single to second base, scoring Tiaga and then sophomore catcher Matthew Hernandez (Murrieta Valley) singled to left field to score Lopez to tie the game at 3-3. Later in the inning, Mejia would score on a passed ball to give the home side a 4-3 lead.
In the top of the third, Citrus regained the lead, scoring a couple of runs, to take a 5-4 lead, but Desert would get that lead back in the bottom of the inning. Matt Hernandez led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on an error by the short stop and then sophomore third baseman Nick Follett (Toronto (ONT) Bishop Allen Academy) doubled to left to put both runners in scoring position. Freshman designated hitter Kyle Henrickson (Anchorage (AK) Dimond) followed that up with a single to left field and later in the inning, Follett would scamper home on a Henrickson caught stealing play, giving the Roadrunners a 6-5 lead.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Roadrunners exploded for five runs in the inning, taking, what appeared to be, a commanding, 11-5 lead. Josh Hernandez led off the inning with a walk, then Tiaga walked, and both moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. Then Nate Lopez walked on a wild pitch, scoring Hernandez. The wild pitch eventually chased the Owls reliever. Matt Hernandez would clobber a one out single to right, scoring Tiaga and Follett bunted a single, scoring Nate Lopez. After a Henrickson walk, freshman right fielder Adam Lopez (La Quinta H.S.) singled to left to score Matt Hernandez. Freshman center fielder Jordan Crisp (Lakewood Mayfair) punished an infield single to third base, scoring Henrickson to wrap up the scoring for Desert.
The Roadrunners starting pitcher, sophomore right hander Austin Clifton (Romoland Heritage) was pulled after surrendering a bases loaded walk in the fifth, but tossed a solid four and two-thirds innings of work, striking out four in the no decision. Freshman right handed relief pitcher Westin Vanderwerf (Glendale (AZ) Independence) got his first win of 2018, as he had a rocky start, but got stronger as the innings wore on, eventually collecting six strike outs and only walking one, including shutting down the Owls in the eighth and ninth innings.
Next home game for College of the Desert Baseball will be February 17th at 12p, where they will host the Orange Coast Pirates of Costa Mesa. Hope to see you there.
Photo by Britney Vargas (COD Sports Information)
Information, Photos & Story provided by COD Sports Information.