IRVINE -- The first four games of the Orange Empire Conference schedule are in the books and the Orange Coast College baseball team sits atop the OEC standings at 4-0 after a 5-3, 10-inning win over host Irvine Valley College on Tuesday.
The Pirates have had four heart-stopping, age-accelerating, grey hair-producing wins in conference play and the results have all fallen in OCC's favor, but here's how close it's been from Coast being 0-4 to start the season.
- Game 1 -- Trailed 7-4 in the eighth inning at Cypress, scored four runs in the ninth to win, 8-7.
- Game 2 -- Trailed 7-6 in the eighth inning vs. Cypress, scored two runs in the eighth to win, 8-7.
- Game 3 -- Lost ninth-inning lead to Cypress, scored two in the 11th to win, 8-6.
- Game 4 -- On Tuesday, Coast trailed 2-1, only to tie the game in the ninth and win in the 10th, 5-3.
"It's not a formula I'd like to depend on for each and every conference game, but as long as win, we'll take it," OCC head coach John Altobelli said. "These four games have aged me prematurely, but I'm loving the never-quit attitude of the guys. Even if we're behind, we just keep fighting and playing hard. That's all you can ask out of your players."
OCC (17-3-1, 4-0), ranked No. 1 in the state in the first CCCSIA State Baseball Rankings, jumped out to a 1-0 lead on the Lasers (14-6-1, 1-3) in the top of the second when Davis Delorefice led off with a single to center, he advanced to third on back-to-back fielder's choice plays and scored on an RBI-single to left off the bat of Skylar Limonchi.
Irvine Valley scored single runs in the fourth and fifth innings to take a 2-1 lead, a lead they kept until the top of the ninth.
Tristan Hanoian led off the inning with a grounder to first that was misplayed into a two-base error. After a bunt-single by Ryan O'Halloran put runners on the corners, Skylar Limonchi tied the game up with a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Hanoian and sending the game into extra innings.
Delorefice lifted a sacrifice fly to center to score Williams to put Coast up, 4-3. two batters later, Joey Fregosi came through with the big hit, placing a two-run double dow the left-field line to score Morgan and Adam Serrano.
IVC scored a run in the bottom of the 10th and had the tying run at the plate, but Delorefice wrapped things up and picked up the win to improve to 2-0.
OCC starter Miles Sandum pitched three innings as he continues to return to full form, allowing no runs on three hits with four strikeouts. Ben Davis also pitched well for Coast, allowing just one run on four hits with a pair of strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings in relief before turning the ball over to Delorefice, who allowed one run on one hit with a strikeout over the final two innings.
Limonchi finished 2-for-3 with two RBI, while Delorefice (2-for-4, one run, one RBI) and Murphy Stehly (2-for-4) also had multi-hit games at the plate for the Pirates.
Game 2 of this week's three-game series with the Lasers will take place on Thursday at OCC, beginning at 2 p.m.