Pirates rally late to tame Tigers, 5-4

Pirates rally late to tame Tigers, 5-4

COSTA MESA -- The Orange Coast College softball rallied from a 4-0 deficit to stun visiting Riverside City College, 5-4, on Friday afternoon in an Orange Empire Conference matchup.

Cayla Ezelle, who went 3-for-3 with three RBI, drove in the winning run when she lined a double to left-center and brought in Linnea Donahugh to break a 4-4 deadlock.

Carlie Chaulsett-Utley (3-5) came in relief to start the top of the third with Coast trailing, 4-0, and the sophomore righty left the Tiger hitters befuddled the rest of the way, holding RCC (9-9, 4-5 in OEC) to just one hit over five scoreless innings with five strikeouts.

Coast (4-14, 2-7) began its four-run comeback in the bottom of the fourth. With two outs and nobody on base, Daria Bair singled to right. Jenna Hernandez hit what appeared to be an inning-ending grounder to third, but the ball got by the Tigers' first baseman, allowing Bair to come around and score to make it 4-1, Riverside. 

Anna Marin, mired in a hitting drought, ripped a clutch run-scoring double to center, cutting the Tigers' lead to 4-2.

In the bottom of the fifth, Synphony Hall (1-2) came in relief and promptly walked Gretchen Hom and Linnea Donahugh to start off the bottom of the fifth. Hom got caught in-between bases two pitches later, but managed to advance to third and after Donahugh stole second, Ezelle ripped a two-run single to right field, tying the game at 4.

RCC had two runners on with one out in the top of the seventh, but Chaulsett-Utley battled back and allowed a couple of ground-ball outs to end the threat.

It didn't take long for the Pirates to win in the game as Donahugh earned a hard-fought, 10-pitch walk, stole second and scored on Ezelle's game-winner. 

Ezelle has been on fire at the plate since the opening game of the season. The sophomore infielder is batting .569 (29-for-51) with 15 runs, nine extra-base hits, 24 RBI and only one strikeout the entire season.

Coast will return to the OCC Softball Complex on Saturday to host Cerritos College, beginning at 12 p.m.