YUMA, Ariz. – Pitching powered the Arizona Western College baseball team all afternoon, and the offense added in timely hits. The result was a 7-3, 8-2 sweep of Paradise Valley Community College. The Mats only trailed once the entire afternoon and piled up 19 hits.
Game one started as a pitcher’s duel between AWC’s Irving Martin and PVCC’s Matt Sweeney. The teams combined for three baserunners in the first four innings. Paradise Valley scraped one run across in the fifth inning on an RBI fielder’s choice by Riley Kirke to take a 1-0 lead, but the Mats (29-10 overall, 11-8 Arizona Community College Athletic Conference) didn’t trail for long.
In the bottom of the fifth, Sean Roby led off with a double and went to third on a groundout. He scored on a wild pitch that went all the way to the backstop. Franky Chavez then hit a line drive down the left field line for a double. Sebastian Perez walloped a double deep to right field that scored Chavez for a 2-1 lead.
AWC broke the game open in the sixth inning. Daniel Lafarga started things off with a double, and Spencer Packard singled to put runners on the corners. Roby plopped a line drive into the outfield to score Lafarga and send Packard to third. Roby went 2-3 with two runs scored in the game. Brody Kato hit a sacrifice fly to score Packard for a 5-1 lead. With two outs, Perez singled to put runners on first and third. Najee Gaskins hit a line drive single to right that scored one more before Landon Riker squeezed a grounder through the left side that plated two. He put the Mats up 7-1 and went 2-2 in the game.
In the top of the seventh, Paradise Valley (24-18 overall, 13-13 ACCAC) rallied for a pair of runs. Turner Lace hit a double to the right-center field gap that knocked in two runs, but Martin induced a groundout that ended the game one batter later.
Martin (5-1) pitched all seven innings for the Mats and only allowed four hits and three runs (one earned) while walking one and striking out one.
Matt Sweeney (2-2) took the loss for PVCC after pitching into the sixth inning. He allowed four runs on six hits while walking one and striking out three.
The Mats never trailed in game two and staked out an early lead in the bottom of the first inning. With runners at second and third, Packard roped a double to right field for a 2-0 lead. He scored two batters later when Kato smacked a grounder straight up the middle to make it 3-0.
In the third inning, Paradise Valley trimmed the gap. With one on and one out, Brady Heid powered a home run out to right field to cut the lead to 3-2. It was his third homer of the season.
AWC immediately answered in the bottom of the inning with a huge two out rally. Kato was hit in the back, and Chavez singled. Perez hit an RBI single right back up the gut. Gaskins followed it up with a soft liner that dropped in left and scored two more for a 6-2 lead.
Jayden Murray (5-1) locked down on the mound for the Mats, and the defense stayed tight behind him. Murray pitched eight innings and allowed eight hits. He didn’t allow a multi-hit inning after the third, and he only walked one while striking out nine. After the third inning, he didn’t allow a baserunner to reach third.
The Matador offense added two runs in the fourth inning. AWC drew three straight walks before Roby popped an RBI line drive single to right field. Kato hit a sac fly to center to score one more for an 8-2 lead.
Walker Ramsey (3-3) took the loss for Paradise Valley. He allowed six runs on seven hits in 2.2 innings while walking one and striking out one.
AWC heads to Phoenix College on Tuesday 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.