It was nearly the victory of the season for the Irvine Valley baseball team on Friday afternoon at home.
But it ended up being a tough-luck loss for the Lasers.
IVC rallied for three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to tie the score, but fell, 7-6, in 13 innings to Riverside in a four-hour and 39-minute Orange Empire Conference contest.
Riverside won two of the three games in the series and improved its record to 19-7 overall and 7-2 in conference.
Irvine Valley's record slipped to 15-11 overall and 3-6 in conference.
The Lasers held a 3-2 lead heading into the top of the ninth inning behind a strong performance from sophomore starter John Stevens.
Stevens left the game after six innings having given up one run on seven hits and four walks with seven strikeouts.
But Riverside scored four runs in the ninth off of IVC sophomore reliever Matt Markus. Only two of the runs were earned. The big blow was a three-run home run by Ryan Mota to give Riverside a 5-3 lead.
Jake Barham's RBI single to center field made it a 6-3 game.
Irvine Valley didn't give in however in the bottom of the ninth.
Freshman Wyatt McGinnis started the rally, hitting a pinch-hit, solo home run to left field with one out to bring IVC within two runs.
Freshman designated hitter Cain Allen reached on an error and freshman catcher Ryan Gaynor was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. Sophomore Alec Ceniceros came through with a pinch-hit single to load the bases.
The Lasers had chances to push across the winning run in the inning with one out, but left pinch-runner Jordan Gutierrez stranded at third base.
The game stayed, 6-6, until the top of the 13th. Mota singled to left, moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt and to third on a groundout and scored on a single up the middle by Barham.
With two outs in the bottom of the 13th inning, IVC freshman third baseman Ryan Rafferty doubled to right field to keep IVC's hopes alive.
But RCC reliever Darin May got a groundout to finish the game.
Daniel Agramont picked up the win in relief for Riverside, throwing 3.2 scoreless innings and giving up three hits and one walk with four strikeouts. He moved to 3-0.
May earned his first save of the season with his work in the 13th. He had two strikeouts.
Irvine Valley freshman Eric Brunst took the loss and fell to 0-2. He pitched 4.1 innings in relief and gave up one run on five hits with two strikeouts.
For IVC at the plate, Rafferty went 2 for 6 with two doubles, freshman left fielder Zack Stack was 2 for 3, sophomore right fielder Cole Joy went 1 for 4 with a run scored and two RBI and sophomore first baseman Tyler Wagner was 1 for 3 with a home run and one RBI.
Riverside was paced by Mota, who was 4 for 7 with two home runs, three runs scored and five RBI. Barham went 4 for 7 with two RBI and Dean Miller was 2 for 6 with two runs scored.
Irvine Valley starts a three-game conference series against Saddleback next Tuesday on the road at 2 p.m.