COSTA MESA -- Fresh off of an emotional win at Santa Ana College two days ago, the Orange Coast College baseball team appeared to have all of the momentum in the world heading into Thursday's matchup against Fullerton, but Hornet starter Richard Lucas had other ideas.
Entering Thursday's game with an ERA hovering near nine, the sophomore righty showed Coast and the rest of the fans why he was Fullerton's Opening Day starter as the Hornets pulled off a 5-3 upset win over the No.1-ranked Pirates at Wendell Pickens Field.
Lucas (2-2) carried a 4-0 lead into the bottom of the eighth inning and finished his afternoon allowed just two runs, two hits, two walks and eight strikeouts over 7 1/3 innings, Reliever Dylan Denker got into some trouble in the ninth but wiggled out of the jam to earn his second save of the season.
OCC sophomore starter Brandon Brennan suffered his first loss of the season (5-1) after allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits with one walk and one strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings,
Fullerton (6-10-1, 1-3 in Orange Empire Conference) scored in the top of the first with an unearned run and that held up for seven more innings. In the top of the eighth, Bryan Sothern came through with a two-out, two-run triple down the right-field line to make it 3-0 and Adrian Valencia followed with an RBI-double to left to make it 4-0.
OCC (16-2-1, 3-1) finally found some offense in the eighth. Boog Powell (2-for-4) reached on an infield single and advanced to second on a walk by Joel Licon. Chris Carlson followed with a single to shallow center to load the bases and Stefan Sabol drove in two with a double down the left-field line, scoring Powell and Licon to make it 4-2. OCC added a third run in the inning when a Fullerton error scored Carlson to make it 4-3 but Denker retired the next batter to end the threat.
In the top of the ninth, Fullerton used a pair of wild pitches from Andrew Bynum to make it 5-3.
Coast managed to put the tying runs on base with their top RBI hitter -- Carlson -- at the plate, but Denker coaxed Carlson into a harmless grounder to first to end the game.
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