COSTA MESA -- Michael Ryhlick picked a good time to pitch one of his best games of the year, leading the Orange Coast College baseball team to a hard-fought 2-0 win over Long Beach City College in Game 2 of the Southern California Super Regional Playoffs on Friday at Wendell Pickens Field.
With the win, the top-seeded Pirates (33-8-1) punched a ticket to next week's Sectionals, where they will host the lowest remaining seed in a another best-of-three series, beginning on Friday at 2 p.m.
Ryhlick (3-1), who started his first game since March 16, pitched 7 1/3 shutout innings, allowing eight hits, one walk and two strikeouts, outpitching LBCC ace Garrett Rennie (8-3). The Vikings' righty allowed just two runs on five hits over eight-plus innings with one walk and five strikeouts.
"That was a hard-fought game right there and both pitchers were dealing," OCC head coach John Altobelli said. "It was great to see Michael step up and hit his locations and mix up his speeds all game long. Long Beach got some hits, but Michael was able to make that big pitch when he needed to the most. It was a bulldog effort, that's for sure."
OCC's first run of the game came in the top of the third (Coast was the visiting game for Game 2), when Todd Jackson sent a deep drive to left field that bounced off of the top of the fence before landing over the fence for his first home run of the season.
It stayed that way all the way to the top of the ninth, when Davis Delorefice finally broke the spell of Rennie and lined a triple into the right-center field gap, snapping a streak of 15 straight retired batters. Delorefice would then score on a passed ball, putting Coast up, 2-0.
Vince Inman came into relief of Rhylick with one out and a runner on second base and promptly retired two straight batters to end the threat. In the ninth, LBCC had the tying runners in scoring position with two outs, but Delorefice struck out Raul Gonzalez to pick up his fourth save of the season and eliminated the Vikings (28-17) from the postseason.
The win was the 699th career victory Altobelli. One more win next week and the Pirate skipper will be one of just the 15th head coach in California Community College baseball history to win 700-or-more games.