DOUGLAS, Ariz. – Do or die, win or go home. The Arizona Western baseball team rallied past #16 Cochise to win 4-2 in game two of the Region I Semifinals and even the series. With the score locked at two in the ninth inning and a runner on second, Franky Chavez stepped up and delivered. He roasted an RBI double down the left field line that rolled all the way to the wall. Landon Riker knocked Chavez home with a single that gave the team insurance. This was the 19th come-from-behind win for AWC this season.
That two run-rally in the ninth came after the Mats (39-19) had tied the game in the eighth. Down 2-1, Daniel Lafarga roped a double to left field with one out. Spencer Packard then hit a soft line drive that stayed fair in shallow right for a double to score Lafarga.
Eric Ligda (11-3) was excellent on the mound for AWC to earn the win. He pitched eight innings in his longest start of the year and only allowed two runs (one earned) while walking four and striking out five. Irving Martin pitched a perfect ninth to get his third save of the season.
In the bottom of the eighth, Cochise (43-15) had a chance to take the lead after loading the bases with one out. Matador catcher Yodelvy Merendez fielded a wild pitch and flipped it to Ligda for a tag at the plate that kept a run from scoring. A flyout to right field ended the threat.
Cochise took the lead in the second inning. Jamori Blash walked and went to second on a wild pitch. A groundout advanced him to third, and Canice Ejoh brought him home with a two-out single to left field.
Riker tied the game in the fifth. He launched a solo home run to left field for his fourth homer of the year. He finished the game 3-5 with two RBI.
In the sixth, Cochise’s Logan Bottrell led off with a bunt. The throw to first was wide, and Bottrell went all the way to third. With one out, he scored on a Luis Hidalgo triple to put Cochise up 2-1. Blash was intentionally walked. He stole second, and Hidalgo was tagged out at home on the double steal. A strikeout ended the inning.
Aldo Fernandez (3-2) took the loss for Cochise after allowing two runs on one hit in one relief inning. He came on for Cochise starter Juan Cabrera in the eighth inning after the Mats had tied the game.
The third and final game of the series will be played tomorrow at noon. The winner advances to the Region I Finals to play the winner of Central Arizona and South Mountain.
Arizona Western College is one of the top community colleges in Arizona. The college boasts partnerships with all three state universities that include face-to-face classes in Yuma. AWC leads the state in enrollment growth over the past 10 years and handed out more than 2,400 certificates and degrees in 2015-16.