Five-run eighth inning propels Pirates past Vaqueros, 8-6

Five-run eighth inning propels Pirates past Vaqueros, 8-6

COSTA MESA -- In a game that appeared destined for the "loss" column, the Orange Coast College baseball team used an improbable five-run, eighth-inning rally to slip past visiting Santa Barbara City College, 8-6, on Thursday at Wendell Pickens Field.

Coast (16-10) led 3-2 before a painful four-run seventh-inning by the Vaqueros (13-13) pushed SBCC out in front, 6-3. In the bottom of the eighth, reliever David Appleby struck out the first two batters in the bottom of the eighth and appeared to be cruising through a stress-free frame.

Josh Berman started the two-out comeback by getting plunked by an Appleby pitch. Ramiro Velasco followed with a walk to put runners on first and second.

Jacob Doty followed with a two-run double down the left-field line, scoring Berman and Velasco to make it 6-5. SBCC replaced Appleby with Robert Wood and the Pirates never let up. Pinch-hitter Jacob Gentry lined a single to center on the first pitch he saw, scoring Doty and tying the game at 6. 

A Skylar Limonchi single and a Javier Rosales walk loaded the bases, bringing up Murphy Stehly, who worked his at-bat all the way to a full count. The next pitch to Stehly was promptly lined into left, scoring pinch-runner Adam Serrano and Limonchi to put the Pirates ahead for good.

After a head-pounding start to the game by the OCC pitchers, who walked eight SBCC batters over 6 1/3 innings, reliever Ben Davis came in and threw strikes, picking up the win with 1 2/3 innings of quality work. Josh Berman closed the door in the ninth to pick up his fourth save of the season.

Doty finished by going 2-for-4 with two doubles, a run and three RBI for OCC, while Stehly added a pair of hits, scored a run and drove in two.

The Pirates and Vaqueros will play again on Friday, beginning at 2 p.m. at Wendell Pickens Field.