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Riverside Unloads on Rancho Santiago

TIMES STAFF WRITER

What began as a bad week for the Rancho Santiago College baseball team got worse Friday.

Last Tuesday, Rancho Santiago’s troubles started when second baseman Rob Reimers was hit by a pitch during practice and broke his left arm. Reimers was the fourth Dons’ infielder injured this season.

Riverside handed out more bad news Friday, beating the Dons, 14-7, in the first round of the Southern California Regional playoffs at Riverside.

Coach Don Sneddon had joked this week that his team was more like a M.A.S.H. unit, and now the Dons are in critical condition.

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Rancho Santiago (34-11) plays Moorpark today at 10 at the Riverside Sports Complex. The loser is eliminated and the winner will advance to a 3 p.m. game against the loser of the Fullerton/Riverside game. Fullerton defeated Moorpark, 14-1, Friday.

Riverside plays Fullerton today at 11 a.m.

Rancho Santiago still has one positive going for it: pitching.

Jerry Aschoff (8-3) and Rob Nay (6-1), both sophomore left-handed starters, have yet to pitch in the playoffs.

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“Few teams still have two pitchers as good as we do left,” Sneddon said. “We’re still in good shape. It wasn’t our plan to have to win four in a row, but we have the pitching to do it.”

Sophomore Matt Lackie started Friday and allowed six runs in three innings before being removed.

Lackie (10-4) spent most of the season as the Dons’ ace but a viral infection caused him to lose two starts and 20 pounds in mid-April.

“It’s obvious Lackie isn’t back where we want him,” Sneddon said.

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Rancho Santiago had defeated Riverside in three of four Orange Empire Conference meetings this season, allowing the Tigers 14 runs in four games. But Riverside (30-15) matched that with Friday’s outburst that included 17 hits and help from two Rancho Santiago errors.

Any hope the Dons held of a comeback were shattered when Riverside sent 12 batters to the plate in the sixth inning and scored eight runs.

Ray Cervantes had the big hit, a three-run triple, just out of the reach of center-fielder Steve Grack. The hit put Riverside ahead 10-2.

Cervantes had three hits and five RBIs, Mike Alto had four hits, and Chris Hunt had three. Each scored three runs.

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Jim Patterson (9-6) staggered through eight innings, allowing eight hits and six runs, to pick up the victory. He also walked eight, hit two and struck out four.

Rancho Santiago had 10 hits but stranded 13. Patterson retired the Dons in order only once and allowed at least two runners in seven of eight innings.


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