Riley Ornido pitches in a game on Feb. 22, 2019 at Benedetti Diamond in San Francisco. (Chris M. Leung / USF Dons Athletics)

USF Baseball: Riley Ornido continues dominance as Dons shut out Rider

Nearly a month ago, as he sat next to Riley Helland and Riley Ornido at the Kissick Auditorium on the Stanford campus, University of San Francisco head baseball coach Nino Giarratano waited expectantly.

He brought his ace, Ornido, partly because, he joked, he wanted to see if the junior would actually talk: “I’ve known him for three years, and I’ve heard three or four words,” Giarratano said.

Ornido, a 6-foot-4 right-hander out of Mountain View-St. Francis, was a walk-on reliever for the Dons in 2017. Then, after getting a start early in the 2018 season and throwing seven no-hit innings, he emerged as the Dons’ go-to starter, winning his first eight starts and leading the staff in ERA, innings pitched, starts, strikeouts and opponents’ batting average.

Now on scholarship, Ornido has continued his dominance in his first three starts. On Friday, he turned in his second straight double-digit strikeout performance in a 5-0 win over Rider University, extending his personal scoreless innings streak to 13.

Ornido threw seven innings of one-hit ball against the Broncs, striking out 10 as San Francisco opened an unconventional weekend that will see them face off against UC Riverside and Rider (again) in a Saturday doubleheader, before finishing the weekend with a 2 p.m. game against the Highlanders on Sunday.

Ornido has now thrown at least seven innings in each of his first three starts, and he’s allowed just one run over his 21 total innings on the mound. He’s not allowed more than three hits in any of his outings. On Friday, Ornido didn’t allow a hit to the Broncs (4-7) until the fifth, facing just one batter over the minimum over his first four frames.

San Francisco (7-5) scored all its runs in the fifth inning, when Helland drove in the Dons’ first two runs on a 2-0 double down the right field line against reliever Andrew Imperatore, who picked up after starter C0lin Eiser had allowed just two hits over the first four innings. An RBI groundout by Jonathan Allen upped the lead to 3-0, and a Robert Emery two-out, two-run double capped the scoring.

Ornido, thanks to his 10 Ks, is now carrying a 2.5-to-1 strikeouts-to-walks ratio with 27 strikeouts against only 11 walks.

Briefly:

Shortstop Jack Winkler’s season-opening hitting streak was extended to 12 games on Friday, when he singled through the right side in the bottom of the seventh. It was the second consecutive game that he extended his hitting streak in his last at-bat during the seventh inning or later.

The Dons’ defense was errorless for the third straight game Friday. After committing six errors in their first five games, San Francisco has only committed two in their last seven.

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