The Fresno City College baseball team beat West Hills College Coalinga in their first game in the series on Tuesday, Feb. 25 by a score of 4-10. The Rams’ first game of conference play started with them looking up from a four-run deficit, eventually climbing their way back for the victory.
In Saturday’s 5-1 loss to Monterey Peninsula College, freshman starter Marcelo Saldana was plagued with command issues, unable to record an out while walking four batters in the first.
On Tuesday, the Rams’ starting pitching woes continued.
Fresno turned to sophomore starter Eddie Rios to take the mound against Coalinga in game one, but the Falcons got to the Rios early. In one complete inning of work, Rios faced 10 batters, allowing four runs on five hits and a walk.
Assistant coach Eric Solberg, who took over for head coach Ron Scott after he got ejected arguing balls and strikes in the first inning, pulled Rios from the game in the second inning, handing the ball to sophomore Darren Jansen.
Jansen came into the game and overpowered the Falcons’ lineup, pairing his firm fastball with a slider he was spotting on both sides of the plate. His 6-foot, 5-inch, 250 lbs. frame intimidated the Coalinga lineup for 23 batters.
“He was just throwing the ball by them. They were just overmatched,” said Solberg. Jansen would go on to pitch seven scoreless innings, holding the Falcons to three hits and striking out six.
Offensively, the Rams started the game stifled by Coalinga’s freshman starter Karter Pate. “They shut us down for a couple of innings, you know… We just had to try to tire him out,” said Solberg.
The tide seemed to turn for the Rams after an at-bat from freshman outfielder J.D. Ortiz changed the momentum. Ortiz battled for 14 pitches, resulting in a single that advanced freshman shortstop Bret Carrell, who would later score the Ram’s second run of the ballgame.
“The thing that changed the whole game was J.D.’s at-bat,” said Solberg. Ortiz was the Rams’ energizer, going 1 for 2 with three walks and three runs scored.
The Falcons were unable to turn to a reliable solution on the mound, and the Rams would spend the rest of the night tacking on runs, crossing the plate nine times in the fifth through eighth innings.
The Rams will play game two of the series at West Hills College Coalinga on Thursday, Feb. 27 before coming back home to play game three on Saturday, Feb. 29 at 1 p.m.