Baseball team battles for extra-inning victory at Saddleback

Baseball team battles for extra-inning victory at Saddleback

Irvine Valley's baseball team tied the Orange Empire Conference series with Saddleback at a game apiece with a 9-8 win in 10 innings at Saddleback on Thursday.

Saddleback was ranked No. 1 in Southern California.

Irvine Valley out-hit the Gauchos, 15-6, in the contest.

The Lasers took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning, on RBI singles by sophomore first baseman Cooper Moore and sophomore left fielder Wyatt McGinnis and a wild pitch.

But IVC later trailed, 6-4, through four innings.

Irvine Valley went back on top, 8-6, with a four-run top of the fifth inning.

Freshman third baseman David Rojas knocked in a run with a single, McGinnis and Rockefeller each scored on wild pitchers and freshman center fielder Ben McConnell capped the scoring with an RBI single.

Saddleback tied things up again, this time at 8-8, with two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning.

The score stayed that way until the top of the 10th inning when sophomore designated hitter Zack Stack singled to bring in freshman catcher Ryan Santa Cruz with the winning run.

And freshman reliever Noah Bradford retired the Gauchos in order in the bottom of the 10th.

Bradford pitched 4.2 hitless innings with four strikeouts to improve his record to 3-1 on the season.

Rojas went 3 for 5 with a walk and one RBI for IVC.

McConnell, sophomore shortstop Colin Conroy, Stack, Moore, McGinnis and Rockefeller each contributed two hits for Irvine Valley on the day.

Irvine Valley, ranked No. 20 in Southern California, improved its record to 11-8 overall and 1-1 in conference.

IVC and Saddleback will play the deciding game of the series on Friday at Irvine Valley at 1 p.m.