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Riders finish series on up note

Luna Community College started its 2020 baseball season on a positive note, giving host Eastern Arizona three competitive games before earning a shutout victory in the series finale over the weekend in Thatcher, Ariz.

Eastern Arizona swept Friday’s doubleheader 3-1 and 6-5. On Saturday, the Gila Monsters carved out another one-run win, 5-4 in extra innings, before the visiting Rough Riders broke through for a 5-0 win to close the set.

Dustin Sipe collected six hits, including four doubles, with eight runs batted in for the Rough Riders and head coach T.C. Nusser.

Luna (1-3) will return to the Grand Canyon State this weekend, playing at Ottawa University’s junior varsity beginning 2 p.m. Friday, then starting a doubleheader at 1 p.m. Saturday. The six-game road swing wraps up Wednesday, Feb. 12, at Trinidad State.

Eastern Arizona 3, Luna 1

The Gila Monsters won a defensive battle after getting their runs in early – one in the first and two in the second. The visitors scored in the top of the fourth when designated hitter Joseph Chaparro doubled in a run by Trent Dewyer, the only other Luna player with a hit.

But the Rough Riders were held to two hits overall by EAC’s pitching staff, including Seth Chavez, who struck out seven in five innings. Brandon Petrino went six frames for Luna, allowing three runs – one earned – on six hits and three walks with two strikeouts. Tyler Godfrey, Dustin Sipe and Adrian Munoz were credited with a double play.

Eastern Arizona 6, Luna 5

Luna led 5-1 midway through the fifth inning after Dustin Sipe drove in three runs. But the Gila Monsters rallied with two scores in the bottom of the frame and then – down to their last chance – pushed across three runs in the bottom of the seventh.

Sipe finished 2 for 3 with a double and three runs batted in, Dewyer was 2 of 2 with two runs, and Kyler Rinehart added a hit and Adrian Munoz one RBI for LCC. Alec Larson notched two RBI on a double for EAC. Giovanni Cervantes, the Monsters’ closer, picked up the pitching win in relief; K.T. Gearlds was tagged with the loss.

Eastern Arizona 5, Luna 4

For the second straight game, the host Gila Monsters prevailed in walk-off style, but this time the Rough Riders took them to extra innings after the score was knotted up 4-4 through seven complete.

Sipe added to his RBI total with four in going 2 for 3 with a double. Tyler Burch also recorded two hits, and Tony Limon had one for Luna. Tyler Mata-Lloyd hit 3 of 5 with three RBI for Eastern Arizona. Andrew Torres fanned two and gave up one hit in the final one and two-thirds innings to earn the win. Dylan Begay, who’d been solid in his game-two appearance, absorbed the loss despite not giving up a hit in the eighth. Limon, Sipe and Eliazar Torres were credited with a double play.

Luna 5, Eastern Arizona 0

Eliazar Torres struck out six and allowed just three hits with five walks over seven innings in a shutout win for Luna in the series finale Saturday.

Sipe hit 2 of 4 with two doubles and one RBI. Isaac Toledo also doubled and drove in a run. Teammates Brodrick Jackson plated two runs and Godfrey drove in one. Luna struck early, scoring in the top of the first, and a three-run third made it 4-0; the Riders tacked on an insurance run in the top of the sixth.

Trace Hardin took the loss for the Monsters (5-3).

Rattlers down Riders to open season

Luna softball lost both ends of its season-opening doubleheader Friday at Otero Junior College in La Junta, Colo.

The host Rattlers won 14-3 and 12-5 in the spring debut for both schools. LCC hit a robust .368 in defeat and outslugged Otero in game two 14-12.

The Rough Riders and first-year head coach Steve Wallace will compete in the Permian Basin Invitational this weekend in Odessa, Texas. The schedule has them playing Otero,
Vernon College and Trinidad State Junior College on Friday, and then Seward County Community College and tourney host Odessa College on Saturday.

Otero 14, Luna 3

The Rattlers didn’t waste time getting on the board in the opener, striking in each of the first four innings, including four runs in the bottom of the first. It was 12-0 before Luna answered with two runs in the top of the fourth.

Lexie Black homered twice and tripled once in going 3 for 3 with five RBI to lead Otero. Brooklyn Jensen hit 2 of 4 with a double and two RBI, and two other Rattlers had two hits apiece. Aiyana Gonzales went 2 for 3 with one RBI, and Olyvia Dominguez drove in two runs in going 1 of 2 for Luna. Ahahi Ruiz, Mary J. Martinez, Dyani Cummings-Lani and Jackie Delgado each recorded hits for the visitors.

Ruiz was tagged with the pitching loss; she and Cummings-Lani pitched two innings each. Makayla Keck limited Luna to one earned run in her four frames and got the win.

Otero 12, Luna 5

Kayla Kascak drove in three runs with a home run, Arianna Cordova tripled twice and was one of four Rattlers with two hits apiece in a more competitive nightcap.

Luna, which was missing a couple of starters for the twinbill, led 3-2 going into the latter innings before miscues shifted control to the home side by the end of the sixth inning. Luna’s late rally fell short.

Mary J. Martinez took the pitching circle for the Rough Riders. Keck picked up her second win in as many games.