YUMA, Ariz. – On a blustery Saturday afternoon, the Arizona Western College baseball team rallied to split with Glendale Community College. The Mats hit three homers in game two on the way to an 8-5 win after falling 5-4 in game one.
Daniel Lafarga set the tone in the first inning of game two for the Mats (27-8 overall, 9-6 Arizona Community College Athletic Conference). He crushed a home run to straightaway center field for a 1-0 lead and his eighth homer of the season.
Glendale (21-14 overall, 9-13 ACCAC) got hot in the third inning to take the lead. With runners on the corners, Elijah Celaya tripled deep to the right-center field gap to take a 2-1 lead. Two batters later, he scored on a Jesus Azuaje single through the left side of the infield. Azuaje stole second and then third before he scored on an infield single by Riley Donahue to put GCC up 4-1.
AWC answered with two outs in the third. Spencer Packard and Manny Perez both singled before Sean Roby hit a towering fly ball that cleared the right-center field wall. Roby’s fourth homer of the season tied the game at four.
The Mats added three more runs in the fourth to take the lead for good. Bryce O’Brien singled, and Sebastian Perez was hit by a pitch. Landon Riker smoked a double to right-center to plate both runners. He came home three batters later after Packard singled up the middle for a 7-4 lead. Packard went 3-4 with a run scored and an RBI in the game. O’Brien also went 3-4 with three singles.
Glendale closed the gap to two in the sixth inning. With a runner on second, Dakota Solis blooped a ball into shallow left field for an RBI single that made it 7-5.
Franky Chavez closed the scoring for the Mats. He smashed a no-doubt homer to left field for a solo shot to lead off the eighth inning. His fourth homer of the year made it 8-5.
Jayden Murray (4-1) earned the win for the Mats on the mound. He allowed five runs on eight hits while walking two and striking out two in six innings. Saul Marquez earned his fourth save of the season by pitching a perfect ninth. Tristan Stockman bridged the gap and didn’t allow a hit in the seventh or eighth innings. He walked two and struck out two.
Casey Brown (3-4) took the loss for Glendale. He gave up nine hits and seven runs in 3.0+ innings.
In game one, Glendale capitalized on four Matador errors. In the first inning, Elijah Celaya drew a walk and went from first to third on a missed pickoff throw to first. He scored when Lucas Wall hit a chopper down the first base line for an RBI groundout.
The Mats tied the game in the bottom of the second. Manny Perez hammered an opposite field home run to right-center. The solo shot was his second home run this season.
In the third, Glendale jumped back on top. With runners on the corners and one out, Sawyer Treese dropped a bunt down the third base line. Matador pitcher Irving Martin fielded it on the run, but his throw home to get the lead runner missed the mark. The error allowed the other runners to advance to second and third, and Wall hit a sac fly to left field to plate one more for a 3-1 lead.
The Mats took advantage of a Glendale error to take the lead in the bottom half of the inning. Chavez led off with a single. Two batters later, Riker hit a grounder to third that hopped off the heel of Cody Fisher’s glove. Riker stole second to put runners on second and third, and Snaider Torrealba doubled Chavez and Riker home to tie the game. Lafarga sent Torrealba to third with a single, and Packard knocked Torrealba home with a sac fly and a 4-3 lead. Torrealba went 2-4 with two RBI and a double in the game.
Glendale tied things up in the fifth. With a runner on third and two outs, Treese hit a grounder to short. Torrealba’s throw to first was in the dirt, and the runner scored.
In the sixth inning, GCC’s Mason Krueger led off with a double. With two outs, Dakota Solis ripped a triple down the right field line that put Glendale up 5-4.
Beau Brieske (5-1) earned the win for Glendale on the mound. He allowed seven hits in seven innings while giving up four runs. He walked two and struck out two.
Martin (4-1) took his first loss of the season for the Mats. He gave up seven hits and five runs in seven innings. Martin walked two and struck out five.
The loss in game one snapped a 10-game winning streak for AWC.
AWC heads out to Mesa Community College on Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for noon.
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.