Rivas Throws Gem to Lead Kingsmen to Victory in Season Opener

Alexander Rivas threw a shutout to help the Kingsmen to a 3-0 win over UT Dallas in their season opener. (Photo Credit: Mariah Zermeno)
Alexander Rivas threw a shutout to help the Kingsmen to a 3-0 win over UT Dallas in their season opener. (Photo Credit: Mariah Zermeno)

TUCSON, Ariz. – A dominant start from Alexander Rivas and some timely offense led Cal Lutheran to a 3-0 win over UT Dallas in their season opener, Thursday afternoon at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Ariz.

In the first of four contests to be played in Arizona, Rivas was nearly unhittable in his first start of the year. The sophomore earned the win after throwing six innings of shutout baseball, striking out six batters while scattering five hits.

Tanner Wright, Ryan Probst and Ryne Yamashiro each posted two-hit days while Austin Carrillo, Joseph Scalzo, Jalen Parks and Sam Cooper all notched a base hit on the day. The Kingsmen banged out 10 hits and played some very sound defense, staying spotless in the error column.

"When you can win that first game, it's really nice," said Head Coach Marty Slimak. "Alex [Rivas] just threw a great game. He had everything working for him. We were on top of them the whole game and made them play from behind. When you do that, your chances of winning are really good."

Cal Lutheran's bat were hot to start the 2020 season as Tanner Wright grounded a base hit right up the middle to lead things off for the Kingsmen in the bottom of the first. Austin Carrillo drew a walk in his first at-bat wearing the Purple and Gold before Ryne Yamashiro came to the plate and laced a double into the right-center gap to score Wright. A sacrifice fly from Daniel Parr would bring Carrillo across and CLU would hold a 2-0 lead after the first frame.

Rivas got the nod in the season opener and was excellent through his six innings of work. The Reseda, Calif. native surrendered a hit to the leadoff man in the first inning but managed to induce a 1-6-3 double play to get out of the jam. Rivas tossed perfect innings in the third and fourth frames as he would continue to cruise through his outing.

The Kingsmen ran into some trouble in the fifth when the Comets set the table with two base hits to lead off the inning. UTD put runners on second and third with one out, but Rivas was able bear down and pitch out of yet another jam, ending the inning with a pair of groundouts to strand the runners and keep the visitors off the board.

Scalzo stepped to the plate in the bottom of the sixth and created a memorable moment for himself as he blasted a solo home run to left field in the first game of his CLU career, extending Cal Lutheran's lead to 3-0.

Rivas handed the ball to Clay Rickerman in the seventh and he pitched around a walk and a hit to throw a scoreless frame. Zach Hardman was chosen was the next hurler for the Kingsmen and he also made quick work of the Comets, setting them down in order.

Christian Slattery's number was called to pick up the save and clinch the win in the ninth. The senior ran into some trouble after surrendering a walk and a hit in the final frame, but recorded a big strikeout to earn his first save of the season.

Making their Cal Lutheran debuts this afternoon. were Kyle Reuser, Carrillo, Scalzo and Cooper.

CLU looks to continue their winning ways in Tuczon, Ariz. tomorrow Feb. 7 at 5 p.m. (6 p.m. MST) when the Kingsmen take on foes from the Northwest, Whitman (Wash.) back at the Kino Sports Complex.

Box ScoreCLU 3, UTD 0
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Release by Jeff Rebello, Assistant Sports Information Director