COSTA MESA -- The Orange Coast College team used the right arm of starter Brandon Brennan and one key hit from Bijan Rademacher and turned it into a 1-0 win over visiting Fullerton College on Thursday afternoon at Pickens Field.
In a battle between two of the top pitchers in the Orange Empire Conference -- Brennan for Coast and Richard Lucas for the Hornets -- the two standouts didn't disappoint the crowd, their teammates or coaching staffs.
Brennan (7-1) went the distance and allowed just three hits with no walks and five strikeouts. After his last outing where he allowed five walks over 5 2/3 innings, the sophomore was aggressive in the strike zone and made big pitches when he needed to.
Lucas (5-2) was equally as dominant, allowing just one run on three hits with four walks and three strikeouts over eight innings of work. He outdueled Brennan the first time these two teams met at OCC (a 5-3 Fullerton win back on March 8.
In a game that took under two hours to complete, both teams found scoring opportunities hard to come by. Brennan was dominant early on, retiring the first 10 batters he faced, while Lucas gave up some loud outs early on, they were outs nonetheless and the game remained scoreless through five innings.
Finally, in the bottom of the sixth, the Pirates (26-3-1, 13-2 in OEC) -- ranked No. 1 in the country by perfectgame.org -- managed to get the "big hit" when they needed it the most. With two outs and nobody on, a two-out walk by Stefan Sabol brought up Rademacher and the freshman right-fielder ripped a double into right-center. Sabol used his speed around the bases and scored with ease, putting Coast up 1-0.
After retiring the leadoff batter in each of the first seven innings, Brennan found some trouble in the final two innings. In the eighth, Adrian Valencia led off with a single, went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Ryan Joyce and advanced to third on a grounder to shortstop. But Brennan worked out of the jam as Fernando Escobar ended the frame with a harmless fly ball to center.
In the ninth, Adrian Delgado was hit by a Brennan fastball and, two pitches later, a pitch in the dirt allowed Delgado to move into scoring position with nobody out and the heart of the Hornets' order coming to the plate.
Jason Nieto moved Delgado to third with a two-strike sacrifice bunt to third, bringing Fullerton's two top hitters to the plate in Bryan Sothern (.431 batting average) and Drew Luther (.404 batting average).
But Brennan was not going to be denied on this day as he coaxed Sothern into a ground out to shortstop Joel Licon with the infield in and Luther into a similar grounder to Licon to end the game.
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