YUMA, Ariz. – Patience proved to be a virtue for the Arizona Western College baseball team on Tuesday afternoon. The Mats drew 10 walks and won 5-4 after a walkoff walk with the bases loaded in 16 innings against 16th ranked Central Arizona College.
AWC (17-7 overall, 4-5 Arizona Community College Athletic Conference) kept grinding out at-bats throughout the game, and it finally paid off in the 16th inning. With one out, Sean Roby drove a line drive single to center field, and he went to second when Najee Gaskins drew a two-out walk. Bryce O’Brien also walked to load the bases, and Central Arizona pulled reliever Sam Miller in favor of Ryley Widell. Landon Riker walked on four straight pitches to send Roby home for the win.
It seemed like Central (15-7 overall, 4-5 ACCAC) was going to win in the 12th inning. Jake Vander Wal bunted down the third base line, and Roby’s throw to first was wide. Devin Ray singled him to second, and Ty Johnson hit a line drive that bounced on the right field line to stay fair to make it 4-3. A relay throw home was on time to tag out the second runner and keep the game at 4-3.
A clutch two-out single tied it in the bottom of the 12th. Gaskins drew a lead-off walk. With two outs, Snaider Torrealba hit a ball that Matt Kroon mishandled at third. Gaskins and Torrealba advanced to second and third on a wild pitch. Daniel Lafarga ripped a 1-2 pitch to left field, and Gaskins scored to tie it. Torrealba was tagged out at the plate to keep the Mats from walking off with a win.
At the start of the game, Central Arizona plated two runs by taking advantage of Matador mistakes. An error and hit-by-pitch put two on with one out, and then a walk loaded the bases. Brad Morgan blooped a single into left field that knocked one run in and kept the bases loaded. Vander Wal drew a walk to give CAC a 2-0 lead
Arizona Western stayed patient and drew three walks to load the bases with one out in the bottom of the first. Brody Kato knocked a sacrifice fly to left field that trimmed the lead to 2-1.
Central Arizona got to Kato, the Matador starting pitcher, for one more run in the second inning. With the bases loaded and one out, Brent Bailey hit a grounder to second. Franky Chavez flipped it to Torrealba to get the force at second, but a run came home to put CAC up 3-1.
In the third inning, AWC tied things up. Riker walked, and Lafarga reached on an error at short. Spencer Packard looped a soft ball down the left field line that scored Riker. With two outs, Roby walked to load the bases. Chavez followed it up with a walk that tied the game at three.
The Matador pitching staff was outstanding for the remainder of the contest. Fabian Muniz (2-0) earned the win after throwing the final four innings without allowing a run. He only gave up one hit and one walk while striking out three. Earlier in the game, Manny Perez and Tristan Stockman combined to throw 7.2 scoreless innings without allowing multiple hits in an inning. Stockman loaded the bases in the 10th, but Trayson Kubo came on in relief and struck out Kroon to keep the score locked at three.
Miller (1-1) took the loss for Central Arizona. He allowed one run on one hit while walking two and striking out one in two thirds of an inning.
The two teams started game two, but they didn’t have enough daylight left to finish it. Neither side had scored after four innings. They will pick up from the top of the fifth inning at a later date.
AWC hosts GateWay Community College on Saturday. The doubleheader is scheduled to start at noon at Kammann Field, and admission is FREE!
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.