For the first time in four seasons the Saddleback baseball team looks like it is headed to Southern California playoffs. The Gauchos all but clinched a spot with a 3-1 win over Riverside on Thursday at RCC, and will receive their playoff fate this weekend when the pairings are announced.
Saddleback once again rode the arm of ace Evan Manarino, who shut down the potent Riverside attach with yet another complete-game. Manarino surrendered just four hits while striking out six in improving to 9-1 on the season. It was his fourth complete game of the season and helped the Gauchos finish in sloe possession of third place in the Orange Empire Conference.
Saddleback trailed 1-0 heading into the fourth inning when they exploded for three runs. Brandon Cody led the attack, homering to lead off the inning and tie the game at 1-1. Mitchell Holland would later double down the left-field line to give the Gauchos the lead. Trevor Sealey would then drive in Holland with a double of his own to close out the scoring. For Cody, it was his eighth home run of the season, tying him for the state lead with Andrew Vanisi of Canada College.
Saddleback improved to 25-11 overall and 12-9 in OEC play with the win. They finished one game back of Riverside and three games back of Fullerton in the standings.
The Southern California playoff pairings will be announced this weekend. Keep it tuned to saddlebackgauchos.com for all the latest news.