The UC Riverside baseball team started the season with hot bats this weekend. The team notched double-digit hits in their first two games, including an opening day 10-2 blowout win against San Francisco.
February 14, 2014
Highlanders 10 – Dons 2
Valentine’s Day treated the Highlanders very well, as they amassed 16 hits against San Francisco, pitching in a 10-2 opening day win. Six players had multiple hits, putting on a show for the 405 fans in attendance.
The action started early for the Highlanders, as Joe Chavez singled to left to lead off the bottom of the first inning. He was quickly batted in by a double to left by first baseman Francisco Tellez, 1-0, who eventually got to third off a wild pitch thrown to Devyn Bolasky. Bolasky was walked, putting runners at the corners with still no one out. The bases were loaded after a passed ball managed to get Bolasky to second, followed by a walk of cleanup hitter David Andriese. Cody Hough did not disappoint, hitting a single to right to score two, 3-0, with some help in the form of an error by the rightfielder. Once again, there were runners on first and third and still nobody out and a two-run lead for UCR, but that would be the end of an eventful half-inning for Riverside. UCR’s bats continued to swing away as they tacked on runs in the fourth, sixth, seventh and eighth innings en route to a 10-2 win.
With so much action coming from the offense, it can be easy to forget how dominate the Riverside pitching staff played on the mound Friday. They allowed only two runs on six hits, led mostly by starter Jacob Smigelski, whose six-inning performance resulted in his first win of the season. He had four strikeouts and three walks to go along with his just three hits and two runs allowed. Dylan Stuart relieved him in the seventh, pitching two scoreless innings, and was followed by Donovan Gonzales, who pitched a hitless ninth inning.
February 15, 2014
Dons 6 – Highlanders 3
The magic that was seen from the Highlanders in the opener did not carry over to the next day unfortunately, as they were defeated 6-3 by San Francisco. The team still had double-digit total hits, but this time San Francisco joined them in the category.
The main difference was the amount of men left on base. Riverside left almost double what San Francisco did, and in a close game like this one, every run matters. The Dons had no single inning where they scored a high number of runs, but they scored in four of the first five innings and added on more in the seventh. Riverside had something going in the second inning, scoring two runs after the first two at bat grounded out. The inning included a solo home run from Nick Vilter. This was followed by a walk earned by catcher Matthew Elise, who would shortly score off a double down the rightfield line by shortstop Austin Roberts. The rally continued with a Joe Chavez single to third, putting runners on the corners. However, unlike Friday’s game where they kept their pitcher in, San Francisco made a switch and brought in a fresh arm to stop the bleeding. The move worked, resulting in a Francisco Tellez ground out and two men being left stranded on base, one in scoring position.
Ben Doucette got the start for the Highlanders, and had a rough outing, allowing five runs on nine hits in his four and one-third innings. Relief pitchers Kevin Sprague and Angelo Lingos both had solid performances though, giving up only one run on two hits in four and two-thirds innings. Sprague also had four strikeouts and no walks in the game.
February 16, 2014
Highlanders 8 – Dons 5
On Sunday, the Highlanders earned the series against San Francisco as they defeated the Dons 8-5. UC Riverside scored in six of the eight innings, earning two crucial runs in the sixth inning, 7-4, which put the game out of reach for the Dons.
Second baseman Joe Chavez scored a pair of runs on three hits while Mark Contreras and Matthew Ellis also added two runs. UC Riverside on the day were outhit by the Dons (13-11), but made the crucial runs when it mattered most.