Playing their third game in three days, the San Bernardino Valley College baseball team knew it would need a strong effort from its pitching staff Thursday against Citrus College.
The Wolverines got that, and they scored just enough to pick up their second straight win at home, beating Citrus 2-1.
SBVC got the two runs it needed in the third inning. David Corona led off with a double to straight away center. Noah Parra followed by beating out a bunt to put runners on the corners. Edward Aldama came up and grounded the ball straight to Citrus first baseman Andrew Duran, who stepped on the bag to retire Aldama, but his throw home was too late to get Corona for a 1-0 lead. Parra moved to third on a wild pitch, then scored on a groundout by Gage Brandt.
And the pitching staff made the runs stand up. Starting pitcher Nathaniel Mendoza retired the first 10 batters he faced before walking Duran with one out in the fourth. Jack Strickland followed with Citrus' first hit, a single that moved Duran to second. After Brett Bowers flew out, Go Hattori came up and knocked home Duran to cut the score in half.
But that was all the Owls could get against Mendoza and reliever Giancarlo Flores. Mendoza allowed three hits in six innings, striking out seven and walking two. Flores came in and struck out four in the final three innings for the save - but not before a little ninth inning drama. The Owls loaded the bases with two outs, but Flores got Tristian Thomas to swing at miss at a pitch in the dirt. Catcher Martin Sanchez picked up the ball and stepped on home to record the force for the final out.
The Wolverines will play four games in five days next week, as they will host Irvine Valley on Tuesday and Thursday, before opening conference play Friday against Victor Valley. They will complete their week with a game at Irvine Valley on Saturday.