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Chaffey College baseball team grab control early, holds off Mt. San Jacinto College – Press Enterprise

SAN JACINTO — Although his team won Tuesday’s game against Mt. San Jacinto College flawlessly, Chaffey College baseball coach Andrew Smith was not pleased with an attack that left eight runners on the goals.

On Thursday afternoon, the Panthers scored seven runs between the third and fourth innings to take control early. Chaffey then staved off a late challenge and earned an 8-5 win over MSJC to stay atop the IEAC rankings.

“We didn’t use the sticks particularly well on Tuesday, so I was really happy to see the guys get some success early,” Smith said. “Pierce Sailer pitched really well against us in relief and really kept them where things could have easily gotten away, and that’s what you get with a quality program like MSJC.”

Both teams squandered scoring chances early, but Chaffey (21-9 overall, 15-2 IEAC) broke through in the third set. Ryder Young and Jacob Billings had back-to-back singles and eventually scored on an error. Javier Mendez Jr added an RBI single before MSJC’s Evan Stratton got a pair of flyouts to end this inning.

MSJC (22-7, 13-3) got one of those runs in the bottom of the third on an RBI single by Juni Rodriguez.

Seven of the 13 runs in Thursday’s game were scored in the fourth inning.

Chaffey’s Yahir Ramirez doubled in a run and then scored on a double by Young. Torrez closed the inning with a two-run homer, giving starting pitcher Joseph O’Regan an even bigger cushion to work with.

“Joe mixes pitches really well, and as a pitcher what I like is I don’t have to be fastball dominant with him,” Smith added. He doesn’t throw like a freshman.

MSJC responded with three runs in the bottom half of the inning. Josh McAninch started things off with a single and scored on a groundout. Christian Smith’s two-run double later in the inning cut the deficit to 7-4. Smith scored another run in the seventh inning, but the Eagles squandered an opportunity to add more runs after Chaffey reliever James Rivera used a groundout and a strikeout to strand a pair of runners and put end this threat.

In the top of the ninth, Young hit Chaffey’s second home run to give the Panthers another insurance run.

Chaffey’s Damian Hernandez earned a six-out save, allowing just one hit to Tanner Aoki in the bottom of the ninth.

“We played really well offensively and were able to really take control early in this game,” Young said. “But we know there’s still a lot of baseball left and anything can happen.”

O’Regan earned the win for Chaffey, going six innings while giving up four runs on six hits with eight strikeouts and just one walk. Young and Smith were the top hitters on their respective teams, going 3-for-5 with three RBIs.

Chaffey will look to complete the series sweep when it hosts the Eagles on Saturday at 1 p.m.

California Daily Newspapers

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