Westmont head baseball coach Robert Ruiz, already the winningest coach in program history, picked up wins 350 and 351 at home Friday, as the Warriors took a pair from Marymount California.
In game one, Ruiz once again rode the arm of Bryan Peck to a 7-3 win, and in game two Eric Oseguera led the way in a 7-2 victory.
Ruiz, who surpassed Coach John Kirkgard with win number 282 in 2019, is 109 games over .500 since opening day in 2010.
“I told our guys, ‘Coaches do not win baseball games, players do,’ ” said Ruiz. “We have been fortunate to have some really good players and great assistant coaches that have really made this what it is. I’m proud of our guys’ resilience and our overall ability to stay in the fight.”
Simon Reid opened the scoring on Friday when he launched a no-doubt home run to right-center field for his third home run of the season. After Mariners’ starter Aidan Martin retired the first two men quickly, Reid jumped on a fastball and admired his work before taking a victory lap.
In the top of the third inning, the Mariners were the first team to put a blemish on the collegiate stat sheet for the freshman, Peck. Following a 1-1 count, the Palmdale native was squeezed on three consecutive pitches, and Angel Cano was gifted a leadoff walk to open the frame.
After a single and a groundout, Ulysses Duran lifted a fly ball to routine center field for a sac fly, bringing in Cano to tie the game. The run ended a streak of 14 and two-thirds scoreless innings for Peck to open his career in a Westmont uniform.
However, the run did not phase Peck. While the freshman did not produce as many swings and misses as in his first two starts, he ultimately surrendered just the one run across six innings in a winning effort. Peck struck out just one while allowing three hits and walking one.
“I thought it was a great outing from Peck,” said Ruiz. “He was competing against a pretty tough strike zone today. We weren’t getting pitches that we have been able to count on, but his ability to persevere is what was most impressive. He solved problems, figured it out, and gutted out a really good start for us.”
Westmont’s offense did not display their usual power in game one, but the club generated enough offense to build a comfortable lead in the middle innings. In the third, Thomas Rudinsky brought in Robbie Haw with an RBI groundout to give the club a 2-1 lead they would never relinquish.
Then, in the bottom of the fifth, a leadoff error opened the door for the Warriors to put the game away. Paul Mezurashi led off the frame by bunting a ball right back to Marymount’s Martin. The right-hander slipped trying to grab the ball, and skipped a throw that first baseman Eddie Hernandez could not handle, allowing the speedy Mezurashi to reach.
The Warriors immediately made Martin pay when Haw slashed an RBI double to right center, bringing Mezurashi all the way around to double Westmont’s lead. David Martinez continued the rally with a two-run single to bring in Haw as well as Reid’s courtesy runner, Luke Tillitt.
Justin Rodriguez capped off the fifth-inning rally with a double down the left field line to score Rudinsky, giving the club a 6-1 lead after five.
The Mariners got back within striking distance in the eighth, when Brian Garcia lifted a two-run home run off of Adam Sheehan. Fortunately for the Warriors, Zach Coleman put out the fire in the eighth, and Reid added an insurance run with an RBI single in the bottom of the inning.
Bullpen ace Carlos Moreno struck out a pair in a one-two-three ninth inning, securing Ruiz’s 350th win.
In game two, Oseguera set the tone with four scoreless innings out of the gate, matching Marymount’s Charlie Perkins pitch for pitch. In the bottom of the fourth, the Warriors finally got to Perkins.
After back-to-back walks and a bunt single loaded the bases, Jonah Paez smoked a line drive into center field to bring in Westmont’s first run of game two. The Warriors elected to go station-to-station, keeping the bases loaded with one out for Parker O’Neil.
Down 0-2, O’Neil got a mistake pitch from Perkins and did not miss it, serving it to the wall in right-center field to bring in Martinez and Josh Rego. The Warriors left two men on base, but carried a 3-0 lead into the fifth, when Oseguera came out to cap off his gem.
For the first time since 2019, Oseguera completed his fifth inning of work when he struck out the side. The Mission Hills native scattered just three hits while striking out seven. He did not surrender a single free pass.
“I’m really proud of Osey,” expressed Ruiz. “He’s pushed hard to get back to where he is and today, we started to see glimpses of the Osey that we know he can be. His velocity was back up, he was landing all three pitches, and he was just a bulldog out there.”
Reid kept the good vibes rolling for the Warriors following Oseguera’s departure when he scooped a ball down the zone and sent it over the wall down the right field line. Reid’s fourth home run of the year put the club up 4-0, and put him atop the team’s leaderboard in long balls.
Zach Yates fired a scoreless eighth inning, touching 90 miles-an-hour on the radar gun in the process. Then, in the bottom half of the inning, the Warriors got their final insurance runs. First, Paez reached via walk, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, and scored thanks to a pair of pitches that went to the backstop.
Then, after Brady Renck reached on a walk, he moved to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a throwing error with two outs. Kahi Rodriguez capped off the rally when he tripled down the right field line to bring in Jack Thompson, making the score 7-0.
The Mariners got on the board thanks to an error and a wild pitch in the seventh, but no further damage was done as the Warriors secured a 7-2 win and doubleheader sweep.
“I thought we put some good swings on balls early in the day and just couldn’t get anything to string together,” reflected Ruiz. “As the day went on, we got into a bit of an undisciplined approach and had to make some adjustments, but some guys came up clutch when we needed it. Parker O’Neil came up with a huge double, and Simon Reid had a nice day at the plate as well. It was nice to get a few different guys going.
“Ten games in, we’ve been able to move guys around to get experience and that’s a big part of our goal heading into our conference schedule.”
Jacob Norling is the sports information assistant at Westmont College.