YUMA, Ariz. – Despite missing early chances, the Arizona Western Matadors (11-7 overall, 2-4 ACCAC) delivered an offensive onslaught in a 16-6 non-conference win over the Vancouver Island Mariners (2-5 overall) Friday afternoon at Kammann Field.
Jarrod Belbin’s 5-hit day was flanked by a 3-hit, 4-RBI day from Oliver Frias as the Matadors scored in every one of their eight at-bats in the win.
It was Vancouver Island that held the advantage in the beginning though, mastering two-out situations on offense and defense.
After Matador starter JC Navarro struck out the first batter of the game and issued a walk. He induced a fielder’s choice that nearly turned into a double-play, in what would have ended the inning. Instead, Liam Ballance smacked an RBI double to give the Mariners a 1-0 lead.
The Matadors answered right back in two batters as Daniel Gonzalez doubled before Belbin drove him in with a single. But Mariners starter Aden Richardson navigated past any further trouble and stranded two Matadors on the bases at the end of the inning.
Vancouver Island struck for their big inning in the second, all with two-outs. Ethan Dyck’s single and stolen base in front of a walk to Brayden McClary setup Trent Lawson’s 2-run double. He came around on Conor Bronson’s single before Navarro escaped the second.
The Mats got one back after Frias walked to start the second and courtesy runner Ivan Medina stole second and scored on a pair of wild pitches. The Matadors would load the bases in the inning with just one-out, but Richardson avoided any more damage by inducing an infield pop-up and getting a strikeout.
Arizona Western went to the bullpen and Angelo Wicklert mowed down the Mariners in the third and fourth innings, retiring six in a row.
That allowed the offense to catch up. Despite another one run third that saw AWC start with a Frias HBP, before Medina again came around to score. The Matadors left two more on base in the inning.
They finally got to Richardson in the fourth as Belbin started the inning with a single. He nabbed second before Selassa’s comebacker to the mound got Belbin tagged out between the bases, but Selassa wound up in his place at second during a rundown. Navarro was hit by a pitch before Jose Paula drew a walk to load the bases. That brought up Frias who drove Richardson’s offering to the centerfield fence, scoring all three runners, and putting Frias at third. Medina would score again on Jeando Tromp’s single against the Mariner reliever.
The fourth was enough to spark the Matador offense who scored six more runs, three a piece, in the fifth and sixth before a single run in the seventh and a two run eighth ended the game in the run rule.
After Wicklert allowed a run in the fifth, Chris Bazua entered for 3.1 innings and only surrendered one run to pick up the win for the Matadors.
Richardson was handed his third loss on the year.
Belbin added 3 stolen bases to his fantastic day while Frias had a single, double, and triple. Medina scored five runs and added an RBI double while pinch hitting in the eighth before scoring the game ender.
Arizona Western returns to the road on Saturday to take on the defending National Champion Central Arizona Vaqueros in Coolidge, AZ for a double-header beginning at Noon.
The Mats will be back at home Tuesday against Yavapai College on Kammann Field.
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.