Baseball, Percival open season with sweep over Portland

Matt Hong/HIGHLANDER
Matt Hong/HIGHLANDER

Feb. 13, 2015

Highlanders 3 – Pilots 1

The Highlanders made a winning start to their 2015 campaign as they took the opening game 3-1 over the Portland Pilots. Last season’s closer Kevin Sprague went seven full innings to help UCR secure the first victory for head coach and former MLB pitcher Troy Percival.

The Pilots struck first in the second inning when Cody Lenahan, after reaching second from a wild pitch, was sent home with a single by Davis Tominaga.

UCR would be stopped in the second but responded in the third as Dante Chupek sent Matt Ellis home with a single to even up the score, 1-1.

The game remained tied up until the sixth inning when, after two batters retired, Drake Zarate and Joe Simpson singled to put runners on first and second bases. Marc Contreras would get a wild pitch that moved the runners and then with the help of his single and a Pilot throwing error, the Highlanders took a 3-1 lead in the game.

Portland tried to strike again in the eighth after a single by Geoffrey Lee, which ended Sprague’s time on the mound. Once Jordan Kron came out as relief he gave up another single by Caleb Whalen to put runners on first and second. Michael Lucarelli would use a sacrifice bunt to put them in scoring position. Yet Kron kept his composure and closed out the inning and game to record his first save of the season.

Feb. 14, 2015

Highlanders 6 – Pilots 1

UCR came out strong in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday with a 6-1 win over the Pilots.

The second inning saw the Highlanders start with a triple to left field from Marc Contreras. UCR’s Alex Rubanowitz then followed with an RBI-double to put the Highlanders on the board, 1-0. He would then be sent home off of a hit by Joe Chavez a few batters later.

In the fifth inning, the Highlanders created a cushioned lead with three runs. Edgar Morales, Robby Witt and Chavez hit singles to load the bases and with the help of Vince Fernandez, UC Riverside sent two home with a double to right field. Drake Zarate assisted with an RBI-single of his own and gave the Highlanders a 5-0 lead.

Portland was able to avoid the shutout with an RBI from Davis Tominaga to send home Cody Lenahan, who hit a double with two outs.

UCR pitcher Angel Landazuri ended the night with the victory after going 6.2 innings. Rubanowitz gave the Highlanders their final run with an RBI to send home Contreras, 6-1.

Highlanders 8 – Pilots 4

After trailing 3-2 through the first six innings, the UCR baseball team had a strong comeback with three runs in the seventh and eighth innings of the game to take the victory, 8-4.

Highlander Vince Fernandez came out in the seventh inning to bring home two runners on base to give the Highlanders the first lead of the game, 5-3.

Dante Chupek, Casey Henderson and Mark Contreras were each able to score the insurance RBIs for the game and give UCR an 8-3 lead.

Portland tried to spark a comeback with an RBI from Davis Tominaga to make it an 8-4 game but Jared Morton got his first save of the season by getting the next batter out and ending the doubleheader for UCR, 8-4.

UCR reliever Keaton Leach tallied a win after going 5.2 innings.

The team next plays at San Diego State, beginning on Thursday, Feb. 19.

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