The No. 13-ranked Yavapai College baseball team went down to Tucson, Arizona, on Tuesday afternoon for an ACCAC doubleheader with the Pima Community College Aztecs and left town with a split, defeating the Aztecs 14-10 in game one before falling in game two by a score of 16-7.
Overall, the Roughriders are 7-4-1 and now hold a 1-1 mark in conference play.
Tuesday’s first meeting between the Roughriders and Aztecs was a wild one.
Sophomore infielder Kade York singled to lead off the game and came around to score on a passed ball just before sophomore outfielder Ryland Zaborowski singled in sophomore infielder JT Taylor (who doubled after York) to give Yavapai a 2-0 lead.
In the top of the second, the Riders scored on a passed ball and in the top of the third, redshirt-sophomore outfielder Sean Rimmer hit a two-run homer to give the Roughriders a commanding 5-0 lead.
The Aztecs never blinked, however, and pushed seven runs across in the bottom of the third to take a two-run lead.
In the top of the fourth, freshman infielder Alex Ulloa hit an RBI single to cut the Aztec lead to one, however, Pima was relentless and took a 10-6 lead after pushing three more runs across in the bottom of the fourth.
After a scoreless fifth inning, the Roughriders went to work with some late game heroics.
With two outs in the top of the sixth and York on base with a walk, sophomore outfielder Brycen Tambone doubled in York to make it a 10-7 game. Zaborowski, the next batter, launched a two-run homer to left field to bring the Riders within one, once more.
After holding Pima scoreless in the bottom of the sixth, redshirt-sophomore outfielder Amari Bartee led off the top of the seventh inning with a solo shot to tie the ballgame and give the Riders a chance in extra innings.
In the bottom of the seventh, the bullpen did their job once more, holding Pima scoreless and sending the game to extras.
With one out in the top of the eighth, sophomore infielder Travis Warinner doubled and was followed by another Zaborowski two-run bomb to give YC a 12-10 lead. Freshman utility man Ben Zeigler made it back-to-back jacks with a solo homer after Zaborowski and the Riders led 13-0.
Later in the inning, Bartee and Rimmer doubled to set the table for freshman infielder Rocco Gump who added some insurance with a sac fly to bring home Bartee.
In the bottom of the eighth, sophomore righty Tyler Davis set Pima down in order to clinch the 14-10 game-one victory.
Davis’ game-one box score read 1.2 innings of hitless and scoreless baseball while sophomore righty Ethan Bell also threw a scoreless inning with no hits allowed and two strikeouts.
At the plate, Zaborowski led the squad with four hits while Bartee and Rimmer finished with three apiece. York also tallied a multi-hit game with two (also had two steals) while Taylor, Ulloa, Tambone, Warinner, Zeigler and sophomore catcher Alton Gyselman all finished with one.
The second matchup between the Roughriders and Aztecs started much like the first one, however, things got out of hand fast.
After freshman infielder Ethan Thomas hit a solo shot in the top of the third and Bartee hit an RBI single in the top of the fourth to tie the game at 2-2, the Aztecs put together a 14-run two-out rally in the bottom of the fourth to effectively put the game away.
Despite five Rider runs in the top of the fifth, Pima ran away with the contest and wound up winning 16-7.
On the mound, sophomore righty Jace Taylor worked 1.1 scoreless with three strikeouts while freshman lefty Nick Woodcock tossed 0.2 scoreless innings of baseball.
At the plate, Bartee and Warinner each had two hits while York, Ulloa, Zaborowski, Rimmer, Thomas and freshman catcher Cade Westerlund each had one.
The Roughriders take the diamond again on Saturday in Douglas, Arizona, where they will take on the Cochise College Apaches in an ACCAC doubleheader. Game one’s first pitch is set for noon and live streaming and live stats will be available on GoRoughriders.com/Live.
– D.J. Irwin