DOUGLAS, Ariz. –With runs at a premium in a crucial conference showdown, the Arizona Western College Matadors piled up runs late to grab a split with the conference leading Cochise Apaches Tuesday afternoon.
The first game of the day was filled with a lot of good pitching and clean defense with very little offensive opportunities for either team.
Matador Starter Chris Koeiman traded zeroes with Cochise starter Isiah Campa throughout the ball-game.
The Matadors best chance early was Sammy Hackl’s one-out double in the second. But Campa escaped harm with a pair of strikeouts to end the inning.
The Apaches threatened late with a ground-rule double to start the seventh but Koeiman buckled down with a strike-out and pair of ground outs to send the game into the eighth inning.
Justin Greene ripped a two-out double in the ninth but was left stranded before the Apaches finally tallied a run.
A pair of singles to start the inning for Cochise set the stage for a one-out sacrifice fly and the Apaches beat the Matadors 1-0 in game one, which served as the day’s nine-inning game.
Arizona Western did not wait around to score in game two as Ramon Miranda started the game with a single. After being bunted to second, Sammy Hackl belted a two-run homer to give starter Robert Gonzalez a 2-0 lead before he set foot on the mound.
The Apaches got on the board in the bottom of the third after a pair of Matador miscues resulted in errors and cut the lead in half.
But Arizona Western got the run back in the top of the fifth when Christian Castellanos singled home courtesy-runner Arjun Huerta to make the lead 3-1 in favor of the Matadors.
Gonzalez had to preserve the lead in the bottom of the inning around two more Matador errors.
Hackl gave Gonzalez a bit more breathing room in the top of the sixth with a solo-homer to lead-off the inning and extend the lead to 4-1.
Gonzalez navigated around a lead-off double in the sixth without allowing a run to again maintain the Matador’s advantage.
The Mats added more in the top of the seventh when Oliver Frias reached on an error. Huerta scored the run on Miranda’s RBI single. Jarrod Belbin moved Miranda to second with a sacrifice bunt before Greene smashed a double to score the second run of the inning.
Gonzalez secured a split in the bottom of the seventh, working around a one-out double to earn the complete game victory.
Arizona Western moves to 34-16 on the season and 19-13 in conference play.
The Matadors continue on the road Saturday in Thatcher for a pair of conference games against Eastern Arizona beginning at 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.