COSTA MESA -- Thursday's game lacked the nail-biting drama, but the result was still the same as the Orange Coast College baseball team rolled past Irvine Valley, 6-0, on Thursday in an Orange Empire Conference matchup played at Wendell Pickens Field.
OCC starter Cole Van Den Helder kept the bats of the Lasers (15-6-1, 1-4 in OEC) quiet for seven innings, allowing just three hits with two walks and eight strikeouts. Reliever Vince Inman pitched two solid innings of relief to give the top-ranked Pirates (18-3-1, 5-0) a relatively calm and stress-free victory after four heart-stoppers to start conference play.
The duo of Van Den Helder and Inman outpitched IVC ace Justin Dunham, who took his first loss of the season (4-1) after allowing six runs (three earned) on eight hits with one walk and four strikeouts over eight innings.
Skylar Limonchi (2-for-3, one run, two RBI) came through with the first big hit for the Pirates when he lined a two-run single to left in the bottom of the second inning, scoring John Thomas and David Morgan to give Coast an early 2-0 lead.
IVC's best scoring threat came in the top of the third when a walk and a single to right put runners on the corners with only one out. But Van Den Helder buckled down and struck out Ben McConnell and coaxed a harmless ground out out of Robert Haw to end the threat.
Back-to-back singles by Ryan O'Halloran and Limonchi put runners on first and third with nobody out in the bottom of the fifth. From there, a run-scoring error and a run-scoring double play grounder doubled OCC's advantage to 4-0.
OCC and IVC will wrap up their three-game series on Saturday at Irvine Valley, beginning at 12 p.m. OCC's next home game will be on Thursday against Fullerton, beginning at 2 p.m.