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Rough Riders open season at Eastern Arizona

By Dave Kavanaugh
Luna Community College

Luna Community College baseball broke the ice on its 2022 season with a four-game series at Eastern Arizona College this past weekend in Thatcher, Ariz.

The host Gila Monsters swept the series in a 6-1 and 1-0 doubleheader on Friday, Jan. 28, followed by tallies of 1-0 and 2-1 on Saturday, Jan. 29.

Luna’s Rough Riders put up a strong fight, getting within a run in three of the four games. Both of Saturday’s contests spilled into extra innings before being decided.

In game one, Luna cut Eastern Arizona’s two-run first-inning lead in half with a score in the top of the second. But the Gila Monsters responded with four unanswered runs to seal the win. The Rough Riders, who started Kannon Torres on the mound, held their host to eight hits and one extra-base hit – Colin Kirk’s double.

As solid as the pitching and defense was in the opener, it got even better as the series progressed.

Game two saw a dual shutout through four and a half innings before the Gila Monsters managed a run in the bottom of the fifth. That score would hold, with David Emiliano Mata recording the pitching win. Luna allowed just four hits.

Eastern Arizona produced six hits in game three on Saturday, but neither side got on the scoreboard until the bottom of the 11th inning, when Alec Larson’s walk-off RBI scored Maxwell Chapman. That gave Braydon Schiess a pitching win in two frames of relief work; Isaac Silva struck out eight in a quality seven-inning start for the home team. Jacob Limas had the start for Luna.

Likewise, the finale also required extra innings. The Rough Riders took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third before the Gila Monsters tied it in the bottom of the fourth. In the bottom of the eighth, Eastern connected for its second walk-off win in as many games, on a hit by Christian Olea. Luna’s pitchers again fared well, scattering seven hits across 11 frames.

Overall, the Rough Riders held Eastern to .233 hitting over the weekend.

Luna, coached by T.C. Nusser and Harry Estep, are scheduled to play at El Paso (Texas) Community College on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 4-5. Doubleheaders are set for 11 a.m. each day. The Rough Riders’ home opener is Feb. 9.