DOUGLAS, Ariz. – An early lead didn’t stick for the Arizona Western baseball team on Thursday afternoon in the Region I Semifinal in Douglas. The Mats fell to Cochise College 13-3 in seven innings in the first game of the best of three series.
At the start of the game, AWC (38-19 overall) jumped out to a 2-0 lead with early offense. Landon Riker knocked a double deep to right-center field, and he scored two batters later when Daniel Lafarga dropped a soft line drive in shallow left field. Lafarga went to second on a balk, and Spencer Packard slipped a ground ball through the right side of the infield for an RBI single.
Cochise (43-14) answered with a run in the bottom half of the first. Luis Hidalgo singled home Logan Bottrell, and the Apaches loaded the bases but didn’t send any more home.
With Riker on second and two outs in the second, Snaider Torrealba hit a line drive past a leaping Bottrell in left field that scored Riker for a 3-1 lead.
The Apaches reeled off six runs to take the lead for good in the bottom of the second. Bottrell and Dominic Demarco both hit RBI doubles, and both scored when Luis Hidalgo reached on an error at second. Taggert Baxter hit an RBI single, and Canice Ejoh capped the scoring with a sacrifice fly to center field for a 7-3 lead.
Cochise kept the pressure on with one run each in the third, fourth, sixth and seventh. In the fifth inning, Hidalgo hit a two-run home run. The run in the bottom of the seventh ended the game by the mercy rule.
The Mats put runners on base in every inning and loaded the bases in the top of the seventh with two outs, but a groundout ended the half inning. AWC left 11 men on base on the day.
Jayden Murray (9-3) took the loss after pitching into the second inning. He allowed seven runs on seven hits while walking two and striking out two.
Alex Tovalin (7-4) earned the win by pitching into the seventh inning. He allowed eight hits and three runs while walking one and striking out six.
AWC will play Cochise again tomorrow afternoon for game two of the Region I Semifinals. First pitch is scheduled for 2:00 pm.
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.