COSTA MESA -- It's been the motto of the 2012 Orange Coast College baseball team all season long -- Never Ever Give Up, or "NEGU". On Sunday, the Pirates followed that saying all the way to the State Final Four.
After falling 6-3 in the opening game on Sunday to Glendale, the Pirates regrouped, flexed their muscles and finished a long afternoon of baseball with a 16-1 rout over the Vaqueros to win the 2012 Southern California Super Regional Playoffs and earn a trip to Bakersfield College for a shot at their first state title since 2009.
"We were a little down after the loss, but we fell back on what we've believed all season -- never ever give up," OCC head coach John Altobelli said. "I'm proud of the guys for bouncing back and playing their hearts out. It's been an incredible season and fortunately, we've got one more weekend left to play."
Orange Coast will head into the State Final Four as the No. 1 seed in Southern California and will play Sierra College (25-15) on Friday at 12 p.m. Sierra entered the playoffs as the 11th seed in the North, but upset No. 4 seed Fresno City College in the Super Regionals to advance.
In the other Final Four matchup, Rio Hondo -- the No. 2 seed in the South will take on Cosumnes River College (No. 7 seed in the North) in the other opening-round game, set for 6 p.m.
With starters Brandon Brennan and Keegan Yuhl already used for the weekend, the Pirates (36-5-1) turned to sophomore left-hander Eric Salcido. With the season on the brink, Salcido came up huge for the Pirates, throwing five shutout innings to improve to 3-1. He allowed just two hits with four walks and three strikeouts.
Andrew Bynum continued on Salcido's solid effort with three strong innings before lefty Tyler Mitchell worked a scoreless ninth to send the Pirates back to the Final Four for the third time since 2005.
"Eric came up huge for us," Altobelli said. "He was aggressive with his pitches and he showed no fear on the mound. His confidence really carried over to the rest of the group. Same goes with Andrew and Tyler -- to win these types of playoffs, you need contributions from everyone and today, some role players came up big for us."
While the role players stepped up, the OCC offense came to life in a big way in Game 2. With the help of a depleted Vaquero pitching staff playing their fifth game in three days, Coast used the home run power of Bijan Rademacher and Stefan Sabol to take control of the game.
Sabol (2-for-3, four runs scored, three RBI) led off the second inning with a double down the left-field line and scored on an RBI single by Rademacher to give Coast a 1-0 lead.
In the fourth, a pair of walks to Chris Carlson and Sabol put runners on first and second and Bryan Garza came through with a one-out triple to right-center, putting Coast up 3-0. Austin Wobrock drove in Garza with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-0.
The game was officially blown wide open in the bottom of the fifth. A single by Joel Licon (3-for-5, two runs) and back-to-back walks by Carlson and Sabol brought up Rademacher and the freshman rightfielder launched a grand slam over the right-field fence, putting the Pirates up 8-0. Rademacher finished with two hits, two runs and five RBI.
The onslaught continued in the sixth when Sabol unloaded a three-run home run to make it 11-0. From there, Coast would add three more runs in the seventh and two more in the eighth as the Vaquero pitching staff allowed 13 hits, eight walks and three hit batsmen throughout the afternoon.
In the opener, Glendale rode the right arm of closer-turned-starter Kirk Edson to a 6-3 win to force a winner-take-all second game. Edson went the distance and allowed three runs on three runs on 11 hits, walking one and striking out two. A solo home run by Julian Jerrard and a two-run blast by Edgar Montes highlighted the Vaquero offense. Trent Woodward went 3-for-3 with a run scored and one RBI for OCC in the opener.
June 7, 2012 SIX Pirates selected in 2012 MLB Draft
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May 7, 2012 Altobelli named OEC Male Coach of the Year
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April 14, 2012 Pirates clobber Rustlers, 21-1
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March 27, 2012 Pirates blank Gauchos, 13-0
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March 21, 2012 Yuhl goes the distance as Pirates double-up Chargers, 4-2
March 15, 2012 Brennan leads Pirates past Lasers, 3-1
March 14, 2012 Team effort leads the way as Pirates roll past Tigers, 10-4
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February 10, 2012 Carlson, Powell propel Pirates past Vikings
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