COSTA MESA -- The Orange Coast College baseball team didn't bring its overall "A" game, but it was enough to remain on top of first place in the Orange Empire Conference after Thursday's 3-1 win over visiting Irvine Valley.
Sophomore righthander Brandon Brennan improved to 6-1 overall but it wasn't easy. The University of Houston-bound standout overcame some inconsistency and grinded out a seven-inning performance where he allowed one run on five hits with a season-high five walks and four strikeouts. Lefty Eric Salcido picked up his first save of the year after holding the Lasers (9-11, 3-4 in OEC) at bay over the final two innings, allowing one hit while striking out two.
IVC righty Jordan Geiger pitched well enough for the win, but the Lasers' offense couldn't find that "big hit" all afternoon and stranded 10 men on base. He went the distance and allowed three runs on nine hits with one walk and four strikeouts.
The majority of those hits allowed came from the top of the Pirates' lineup as the 1-2-3 punch of Boog Powell, Joel Licon and Chris Carlson came through in the clutch.
Powell went 3-for-3 with two runs, Licon helped set up an OCC run with a hit in four trips to the plate and Carlson drove in all three runs with a two-run home run and an RBI single.
IVC took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third when Bryce Hara walked, advanced to second on a bloop single to left by Scott Kaplan and scored on a hit-and-run, RBI-single to left by Sam Kim.
But Brennan used a double-play fly ball to right to help stop the bleeding and the Pirates (19-2-1, 6-1) responded in the bottom half of the third.
A one-out single by Powell got Coast going and, after a fly-out by Licon, Carlson ripped his third home run of the season to right-center, putting the Pirates up for good.
It remained 2-1 until the bottom of the fifth when two-out singles by Powell, Licon and Carlson extended the lead to 3-1.
IVC -- which did not have a 1-2-3 inning at the plate all afternoon -- kept applying pressure on Brennan and the OCC defense, but the Lasers could not chip away at the deficit.
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