YUMA, Ariz. – Late runs and one run games are fickle things, and the Arizona Western College baseball team spent time on both sides of the coin on Saturday afternoon. The Mats split with Cochise College with a game one rally for a 3-2 win before falling 5-4 in 11 innings in game two.
Down 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh and final inning in game one, the Matador (15-4 overall, 2-2 Arizona Community College Athletic Conference) bats came through with clutch hits. Franky Chavez singled up the middle to start things off, and he went to second on a sacrifice bunt. Snaider Torrealba ripped a line drive to left-center field, and Chavez raced home to tie the game at two. Torrealba then stole second, and Spencer Packard whacked him home with a line drive single to right-center to win the game.
Right before the Mats came back, it seemed like Cochise (12-4 overall, 3-1 ACCAC) had all the momentum after Dominic DeMarco hit a solo home run for a 2-1 lead in the top of the seventh inning. It was his first home run of the season.
At the start of the game Arizona Western came out and attacked on offense in the first inning to take an early lead. Packard singled and went to third when Daniel Lafarga doubled with a grounder down the left field line. Manny Perez knocked Packard home with a sacrifice fly to left and a 1-0 lead.
Cochise did tie things up in the fourth inning. Jamori Blash hit a double to the left field corner to score Luis Hidalgo and make it 1-1.
Matador starter Irving Martin (2-0) threw well and kept Cochise off balance. He earned the win after pitching the full seven innings and only allowing two runs. Martin struck out nine while only walking one and scattering five hits throughout the game.
Alex Tovalin (1-1) took the loss for Cochise. He went 6.2 innings and allowed three runs on seven hits while walking two. Tovalin struck out seven.
In game two, DeMarco again smacked a solo home run. This time, he hit it in the 11th inning to put Cochise up 5-4.
The Mats had Riker get to second in the bottom of the 11th with one out, but a pair of strikeouts ended the game.
Cochise took the lead at the start of the game. With a runner on second and two outs, Canice Ejoh knocked an RBI single to left field for a 1-0 lead.
The Apaches added a run in the third inning when Jamori Blash hit a solo home run to make it 2-0. It was his first home run of the season.
In the fifth inning, Cochise’s Logan Bottrell tripled to the left-center field gap, and he came home when Blash lined a single into left for a 3-0 lead.
The Mats worked a run across in the sixth inning. Packard doubled, and Lafarga singled. After Perez was hit by a pitch, a wild pitch scored one run to trim the lead to 3-1.
Cochise answered in the top of the seventh. Bottrell singled and stole second. He went to third on a fly before racing home on a wild pitch to push the lead to 4-1.
AWC responded with a rally in the bottom half of the inning. Najee Gaskins walked, and Snaider Torrealba singled. The Mats executed a double steal to perfection to put runners on second and third with one out. Packard hit home Gaskins with a sac fly to center, and Lafarga and Perez both drew walks. Roby then lined a single to center, and Torrealba and Lafarga both touched home to tie the game at four.
Brody Kato (1-2) took the loss for Arizona Western after coming on in relief to start the ninth inning. He allowed one run on three hits while walking one and striking out five in three innings.
Jayden Murray started the game on the mound for the Mats, and he set a career high with 14 strikeouts in seven innings. The sophomore allowed four runs on eight hits while walking two.
Aaron Vernon earned the win for Cochise after coming on in relief in the 10th inning and finishing the game.
AWC hits the road and travels to South Mountain Community College on Tuesday, February 28 for a doubleheader. The 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.