Irvine Valley's baseball team bounced back from three tough games against Golden West with a hard-fought 5-4 win over Riverside on Tuesday afternoon at home in the first game of the Orange Empire Conference series between the two clubs.
The Lasers, ranked No. 12 in Southern California, improved their record to 15-9 overall and 3-4 in conference, while No. 8 Riverside saw its record slip to 17-7 overall and 5-2 in conference.
Irvine Valley also handed Riverside pitcher Blake Tuthill his first loss of the season. Tuthill was 6-0 coming into Tuesday's contest.
Riverside took an early lead off of IVC sophomore right-hander Austin Reynolds, scoring a single run in the top of the second. John Gonzalez's RBI single scored Garrett McKee.
But the Lasers tied the game in the bottom of the second. Sophomore shortstop Tyler Odekirk hit a soft liner to center field. Jack Bailey tried to make a sliding catch in center for RCC, but the ball fell and sophomore first baseman Tyler Wagner scored for Irvine Valley.
Riverside went up, 2-1, in the top of the fourth on a RBI single up the middle by Bailey.
IVC tied the score in the bottom of the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly by freshman second baseman Colin Conroy. The sac fly scored sophomore designated hitter Robbie Espinosa, who had doubled earlier in the inning.
And the Lasers took the lead for good in the bottom of the sixth, pushing two runs across. Odekirk came through with a two-run single. Wagner and freshman center fielder Nick Jacobson scored to make it a 4-2 game.
Irvine Valley tacked on a run in the bottom of the seventh inning on a push bunt to first base by Wagner that brought in freshman catcher Ryan Gaynor.
Riverside did make things interesting in the top of the ninth inning when Patrick Vizcaino hit a two-run home run off of IVC sophomore reliever Matt Markus. It brought the Tigers within 5-4.
But IVC sophomore John Stevens closed the door. He replaced Markus and gave up a leadoff hit, but stranded that runner at second base to end the game.
Reynolds earned the win and improved to 4-1 overall. He went 5.1 innings and allowed two runs on seven hits, two walks and three hit batters. He struck out three.
Tuthill took the loss. He went 5.2 innings and gave up four runs on eight hits and two walks with two strikeouts.
Riverside finished with 10 hits. Peter McEvoy went 3 for 4, Gonzalez was 3 for 5 with one RBI and McKee went 2 for 5 with a run scored.
IVC was paced at the plate by Odekirk, who was 2 for 5 with a double and three RBI. Wagner went 2 for 3 with two runs scored and one RBI, Espinosa was 2 for 4 with a double and a run s cored and Conroy went 2 for 2 with a walk and one RBI.
Irvine Valley is at Riverside on Thursday at 2 p.m.