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Nice Surprise (Ariz.): Rough Riders win series at Ottawa

Winning two of three games over the host Ottawa Spirit developmental squad, the Luna Community College baseball team improved its record to 3-4 this past weekend in Surprise (and Estrella Hills), Ariz.

The Rough Riders, coached by T.C. Nusser, have won three of their last four. They were scheduled to play at Trinidad State (3-5) this week before hosting Otero Junior College (4-4) in the home-opening doubleheader at noon Friday at Brandt Park on the New Mexico Highlands University campus.

Luna came up just shy of a win in Friday’s game one with Ottawa, falling 7-6. But the Rough Riders swept the Spirit 3-2 and 3-2 in a Saturday doubleheader to pick up their first series win of the year. It’s the first outright series win for Luna baseball since the Rough Riders swept a doubleheader at University of the Southwest on March 4, 2018.

Ottawa 7, Luna 6

Luna led 3-2 after one eventful inning and stayed in front until the Spirit scored twice in the bottom of the fourth to grab a 6-5 edge. The Rough Riders tied the contest at 6 apiece with a clutch run in the top of the eighth, but the Spirit answered with a single score in the bottom of the inning and then held Luna in the top of the ninth to clinch the victory.

Rogelio Gonzales, Luna’s shortstop, hit 3 of 4 with a walk and a team-high two runs batted in. Second baseman Tony Limon went 2 for 6 with a triple and one RBI, and Dustin Sipe was 1 for 5 with a double and one RBI. Tyler Burch and Joseph Chaparro both singled for the Riders. Limon, Kyler Rinehart and Brodrick Jackson each had a stolen base.

Dylan Begay pitched a strong three and two-thirds innings in relief, striking out seven and holding the Spirit to one run on one hit, but he was tagged with Friday’s loss. Limon, Sipe and Gonzales were credited with a double play.

Luna 3, Ottawa 2

Down 1-0 through two innings, Luna surged ahead with a three-run third and held on for a one-run verdict in Saturday’s first game.

Daniel Morales struck out five and went the distance on the mound for Luna, limiting Ottawa to two runs – one earned – on four hits and two walks. Sipe and Tyler Godfrey were both part of two double plays each on defense, and Joseph Carnicell and Eliazar Torres each helped turn a double play as well.

Chaparro, Sipe and Louis Reyna each recorded hits for the Riders, and Godfrey drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. Chaparro and Carnicell accounted for the other RBIs in a defensive contest.

Luna 3, Ottawa 2

The visitors broke a 2-2 stalemate with the winning run in the top of the seventh, denying Ottawa any scoring in the bottom of the frame. Luna had scored one run in the fourth and one in the fifth before the Spirit knotted it up with two runs in the bottom of the fifth.

Limon, who closed the game on the mound for the Riders, struck out one and gave up one hit with no runs in two innings of work to pick up the win. That made good on a quality start by Trent Dewyer (11 strikeouts, two runs allowed on four hits and one walk in five innings pitched).

David Amaya belted an RBI triple, and Godfrey went 2 for 4, and Rinehart added one RBI for LCC. Godfrey, Sipe and Gonzales stole two bases apiece, and Rinehart and Alex Baez had one steal each.

Luna softball did not play this past weekend. The team had been scheduled to participate in the Permian Basin Invitational, but that tournament was cancelled due to heavy snow in the Odessa, Texas, area. Games this weekend have also been postponed because of weather and field conditions. Luna is scheduled to play at Trinidad State next Saturday.

The Rough Riders are slated to visit Trinidad State on Friday for one nine inning beginning at 1 p.m. and then travel to Otero Junior College for a double header beginning at noon on Saturday. On Sunday, Luna will host Otero Junior College for a double headers scheduled at noon.

Note: All games are subject to weather and field conditions.