The No. 15 Long Beach City College baseball team kicked off its 2017 campaign on Friday evening by facing off against the Irvine Valley College Lasers under the sun on Joe Hicks Memorial Field. After jumping out to an early lead and then surrendering the lead three innings later, the Vikings used a three-run ninth inning to haul in their first victory of the season in walk off fashion.
Sophomore starter Schuyler Hill (Long Beach, CA) was granted the opening day start on the bump. Despite recording back-to-back swinging strikeouts in the top of the first inning, he allowed a two-out run to cross the plate to put Long Beach in an early hole.
Nevertheless, the Vikings flexed even harder in the bottom of the first inning and put together a two-out rally themselves. Sophomore first baseman Vincent Byrd II (Sacramento, CA) put LBCC on the board by launching a two-out opposite field jack on his first swing of the season to hand the Vikings a 2-1 advantage following the opening frame.
Hill began to settle in and work effectively by blanking the Lasers in the following three frames. His efforts included two strikeouts and an inning-ending double play in the fourth that wiggled the Vikings free of a bases-loaded jam.
However, the Lasers responded in the fifth inning by plating five runs and sending Hill to the dugout after 4.2 innings of labor. Freshman reliever Angel Delgadillo (Norwalk, CA) came in and stopped the bleeding by forcing an inning-ending groundout to the shortstop.
Long Beach remained diligent in the contest and chipped away at the deficit the following half inning by plating one run, as freshman right fielder Val Stammler (Long Beach, CA) wore a slider off the thigh to trim the deficit to 6-3 after five full.
After Delgadillo continued to work well out of the bullpen, sophomore reliever Chase Ambrose (Long Beach, CA) entered in relief and finished the job by blanking Irvine Valley in the final two frames leading to the bottom of the ninth.
Long Beach's bats suddenly erupted in the final half inning with freshman second baseman Humberto Castaneda (South Gate, CA) starting it off by barreling a double down the right field line. Sophomore designated hitter Jared Mayeda (Cypress, CA) promptly followed with a base knock up the middle to set up a first and third scenario for sophomore pinch hitter Andrew Jaekel (Lakewood, CA).
Jaekel, who had been sitting all game, stepped up and launched a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Castandea. After sophomore left fielder Mickey Miladinovich (Long Beach, CA) reached base on an infield single, freshman third baseman Reese Berberet (Fallbrook, CA) drove in his first RBI of the season by dropping a bases-loaded single in front of the right fielder, plating pinch runner Robert Funk (Lakewood, CA).
With the bases loaded and Long Beach down by one, Byrd II stepped up to the dish and hummed a sinking line drive to the second baseman who botched the play and threw it past the first baseman, plating freshman shortstop Tyler Wilber (Los Alamitos, CA) and Miladinovich en route to a 7-6 win.
Ambrose picked up the victory after chucking two scoreless innings and fanning three batters.
Byrd II led the offense by going 3-for-4 with a two-run dinger and three RBI, while Wilber notched a 3-for-5 day at the dish as well.
Long Beach outhit Irvine Valley 13-10 and was highlighted by a four-run ninth inning.
The Vikings (1-0) will travel to Irvine Valley Saturday, January 28 to play the second game of a three-game series against the Lasers (0-1).