Vikings give up six in the ninth, lose 8-2

Daniel Maraccini, Features editor

The Diablo Valley College baseball team faltered late again and fell 8-2 to the Santa Rosa Bear Cubs.

The loss is the fourth straight for the Vikings and moves their record to 4-5 in Big 8 conference play and 7-17 overall.

The game was much closer than the score indicates. DVC trailed by two going into the seventh and even briefly tied it after an eighth inning rally.

However, the Viking’s late push would be undone by an ugly ninth inning, one that featured six Bear Cub runs.

It would be a short outing for DVC starting pitcher Andrew Merken, who came into the game with a 2.02 ERA. After two strong innings, he and the Viking defense would run into trouble in the third.

A lead off double by Bear Cub designated hitter Jackson Leslie and a perfect bunt by second baseman Michael Reynolds put runners on first and third. DVC shortstop Leo Costa dove for a hard hit grounder but missed, which scored Leslie, and a bloop single down the left scored Reynolds.

Down 2-0 with the bases loaded and no outs, Merken’s day would be over as pitcher Ray Villegas came in for relief.

Villegas kept his team close, striking out the next three batters and turning in what was probably the Viking’s best individual performance. He would continue for the next three innings, giving up no runs on only one hit.

The Viking offense struggled to get runners in scoring position for most of the day. One of their few good opportunities came in the eighth with runners on second and third with one out.

Atticus Soane’s hard infield ground scored Josh Stevens, then center fielder Ryan Meisenheimer’s single to left scored Jake Villa.

Two batters later, the Vikings had the bases loaded with two outs, but they failed to score the go-ahead run.

The missed opportunity proved costly, as SRC busted the game open in the ninth inning after Bear Cub pinch hitter Cyrus Ah Quin’s three RBI triple.

By the end of the side, the Vikings had fallen behind 8-2, and any hope of a comeback was squashed by three consecutive outs in the ninth.

The Vikings will hope to turn it around in their next game at 2:30 p.m. on March 31 at Sacramento City College.