In what started as a pitchers duel between aces Matt Gunter of American River College and Cameron Leeper of San Joaquin Delta College, ARC lost 8-5 Tuesday in the first of a three game series against still undefeated SJDC.
ARC (10-9 overall, 2-2 conference) dropped its second game in a row while SJDC improved its already perfect record to 18-0 overall and 4-0 in conference play.
Catcher Collin Theroux led SJDC offensively, going 3-5 at the plate with three RBIs and scoring a run.
ARC left fielder Jimmy Lunardelli, designated hitter Dalton Devries, and shortstop Cameron Bennett each had two hits for ARC which accounted for six of the team’s eight during the game.
SJDC held a 3-2 lead going into the eighth inning before both bullpens unraveled to blow up the score.
Kyle Beardsley took over for ARC starting pitcher Matt Gunter to start the inning, and two runs scored on a chopped single by third baseman Kaelan Crisosto over a drawn-in infield.
Crisosto stole second base, and advanced to third on the same play after a bad throw from ARC catcher Brian Babcock.
Crisosto was caught in a rundown after an infield grounder by left fielder Eddie Sievers, and somehow managed to escape and score the run while also allowing Sievers to reach third base.
After Kyle Grant took the mound in relief of Beardsley, SJDC added one more run on an RBI groundout by replacement designated hitter Nikko Delgado to make it 7-2.
In the bottom frame, two runs scored for ARC on a ground ball to short by right fielder Alex Gaskin, as SJDC shortstop Jacob Thomas threw the ball away attempting to put out Gaskin.
Devries singled later in the inning to score Gaskin, cutting the deficit to 7-5.
SJDC added a run in the ninth, and though ARC managed to have its first two batters reach base, the rally was killed when center fielder Brandon Raposa lined out to shortstop and pinch-hitter James Boitano was caught off the base for a double play.
Gunter (5-2) took a loss for the first time since the season opener, while Leeper won his seventh start in as many tries.
Gunter held his own against Leeper in seven innings of work, allowing three runs on six hits and striking out eight.
Leeper pitched 7 ⅓ innings, allowing three runs on six hits and struck out 11.
The teams will play again Thursday in Stockton at 2:30 p.m., with ARC looking to break SJDC’s perfect record.
ARC head coach Doug Jumelet declined to comment on the game and did not make players available for interviews.