Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Baseball team defeats Merced, 7-5, ready for conference

The Rio Hondo College baseball team defeated Merced College, 7-5, to extend their winning streak to seven games and improved their record to 7-1 on Feb. 12 at “The Jungle” field in Rio Hondo.

The Roadrunners were lead by the strong pitching and hitting of part time outfielder/pitcher Antonio Ruiz. The right-handed sophomore threw four scoreless innings allowing three hits, one strikeout, and three walks and had two hits in five at-bats in the game.

Ruiz drove in the first run for the Roadrunners in the bottom of the first inning with a single up the middle that scored sophomore centerfielder Nick Piraino who had walked, stolen second, and advanced to third on a fielders choice. The Roadrunners led by six runs at the end of the fourth inning, but Merced College battled back to cut the lead to within three runs in the top of seventh.

Sophomore pitcher Chris Butcher labored in the seventh inning and with the bases loaded allowed three runs via a single, sacrifice fly, and a balk. Butcher pitched a scoreless eighth inning and allowed two hits in the ninth before head coach Mike Salazar called on freshman Ryan Orozco to close the game. Orozco retired all three batters that he faced and earned his second save of the season as the Roadrunners held on for the, 7-5, win.

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When asked about which factors have contributed to the Roadrunners seven game winning streak coach Salazar subtly joked, “I’d probably say the best coaching staff in the country.” Salazar then added,

“Just taking it one day at a time, treating it like we’re 0-0, and just trying to win one pitch at a time.”

Salazar was not easily impressed with the seven game winning streak and recalled a much longer streak from three years ago,     “In 2012 we won 32 in a row so this [seven game winning streak] is nothing. It’s nothing to worry about.” Coach Salazar acknowledged that determining his teams best batting order is a work in progress and cited class attendance as a prominent factor. “We’re still doing that [determining the batting order]. If a guy misses a class, he’s not playing, so it’s constantly changing.”

Salazar also feels his student-athletes can improve in other areas outside of the baseball diamond including nutrition. “You can always [improve] in every area,” coach Salazar said. “Most important[ly] going to class, doing the little things correct. Taking care of their body, eating the right way, and just doing all the little details. Baseball is usually the easiest part of their day.” “We’re trying to make them accountable for school as well as baseball so hopefully they can figure that lesson out.”

Rio Hondo play their first Foothill Conference game on Saturday, Feb. 21 against College of the Desert and coach Salazar knows what his team needs in order to propel them towards another conference championship. “Just keep working hard, take it one-day at a time, and keep on getting better. Keep competing and battling one-day at a time.”

The game against College of the Desert will be played at 12pm at “The Jungle” field on the Rio Hondo campus on Saturday, Feb. 21.

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