CYPRESS -- The Orange Coast College baseball team carried a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth, then hung on for dear life before pulling out a 3-2 win at Cypress College on Thursday afternoon.
Coast (12-7, 3-1 in the Orange Empire Conference) used a third-inning sacrifice fly from Tommy Bell and a fourth-inning, RBI-single by Stephen Corona to lead 2-0 early on. In the top of the ninth, Nick Grimes singled, stole second, advanced to third on a ground out and scored on a wild pitch for what appeared to be just a harmless insurance run.
But it turned out the Pirates would need that run as the Chargers (12-4, 2-2) battled down to the final pitch. Four straight ninth-inning singles and a walk by Cypress had the hosts to within a run at 3-2 with the bases loaded and only one out.
But reliever Jack Pabich came into the game and coaxed a foul ball in-between first base and right, that was caught by the second baseman, Grimes. On the play, the runner on third -- Grant Mayeaux -- attempted to score the tying run, but Grimes fired a strike to catcher Jack Kruger, who tagged Mayeaux out to end the game.
Kruger was OCC's lone multi-hit performer, going 2-for-4 with a run.
Lost in the late-inning heroics was a strong performance turned in by OCC lefty Art Vidrio (3-1), who threw seven scoreless innings and allowed just five hits, two walks and four strikeouts.
Vidrio out-dueled Cypress starter Nathan Kuchta, who suffered his first loss of the season (4-1) after allowing two runs on seven hits over eight innings, walking one and striking out five.
The Pirates will return to action on Saturday at Irvine Valley College, beginning at 12 p.m. Coast will return home to face Golden West on Tuesday at 2 p.m.