Baseball: Rio Hondo sweeps season-opening series vs. Antelope Valley

Baseball: Rio Hondo sweeps season-opening series vs. Antelope Valley

The 2019 season got off to a good start for the Rio Hondo College baseball team as the Roadrunners took both games of a two-game series against Antelope Valley College this weekend. On Friday, Rio Hondo rallied late for a 9-6 win at home and rolled to a 7-3 victory at AVC in Lancaster on Saturday.

Freshman Jimmy Portillo had an impressive debut for the Roadrunners as he drove in six runs over the two-game set, including a home run on Friday.

Game 1: Rio Hondo 9, Antelope Valley 6
With the score tied 6-6, Rio Hondo rallied for three runs in the bottom of the eighth to secure the win in their home and season opener in Whittier on Friday.

The Roadrunners appeared to be on their way to an easy victory, getting a run in the bottom of the first before exploding for five runs in the bottom of the second.

Diego Perez, Ricky Akles, and Jesus Maldonado all had RBI singles while Portillo got a sacrifice fly and another run came in to score on a wild pitch.

Antelope Valley slowly began to chip away, getting a run in the third, two more in the fourth, and single runs in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings to even the score up at 6-6.

But in the bottom of the eighth, Rio Hondo put together an amazing two-out rally. Akles singled and promptly came in to score the go-ahead run on a double by Christian Tinnin. Portillo put an exclamation point on the win with a two-run home run.

R.J. Van Kampen got the opening day start and allowed two runs (0 earned) and four hits over three innings. James Wright got the win in relief, tossing the final two innings, allowing an unearned run and a hit with three strikeouts.

Tinnin (3 for 5, 3 runs), Akles (2 for 5, 2 R), Maldonado (2 for 5, 2 RBI), and Perez (2 for 3, 1 R, 1 RBI) also had good games at the plate.

Game 2: Rio Hondo 7, Antelope Valley 3
The Roadrunners jumped on AVC starting pitcher Andrew Garcia early, scoring a run in the top of the fourth and four more in the second to go out in front early on their way to the series-closing win in Lancaster on Saturday.

Portillo hit a RBI single in the first and added a bases-loaded walk to force in a run in the second. Chris Rivera smacked a RBI double, while a Tinnin single and AVC error also brought in runs in the second.

Leading 5-2 in the eighth, Portillo smacked another run-scoring single, his sixth RBI of the series, and Jorge Centeno drove in the final run of the game in the ninth with a RBI single.

Nick Juarez cruised through his start for the Roadrunners. He allowed one run and three hits over four innings. He struck out five and walked just one.

Abraham Carrillo earned the save by tossing the final three innings. He gave up a hit and struck out three.

Centeno led Rio Hondo at the plate, going 3 for 5 with a run and 2 RBI. Akles (2 for 5, 1 R), Portillo (2 for 4, 3 RBI), and Tinnin (2 for 5, 1 RBI) all had two hits each for the Roadrunners.

Rio Hondo (2-0) will look to keep the momentum going on Thursday (Jan. 31) at 2 p.m. when the Roadrunners begin a two-game series at Citrus College. The set closes on Friday (Feb. 1) back in Whittier with a 2 p.m. start at Rio Hondo.