COSTA MESA -- The bats came alive and pitchers held their ground ... a perfect recipe for success for the Orange Coast College baseball team in Thursday's 8-2 Orange Empire Conference win over visiting Saddleback, played at Wendell Pickens Field.
Josh Berman went 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI, while Murphy Stehly added two hits, a run and two RBI for the Pirates (19-11, 7-4 in the OEC). Skylor Limonchi and Coby Kauhaahaa each added two hits and each scored a run for Coast. With the win, OCC pulled back into a three-way tie for first place in the OEC with the Gauchos (22-8, 7-4) and Fullerton College (15-14, 7-4).
While the offense did their job, the OCC pitching tandem of Michael Giacone (3-2) and Doug Magee (three saves) did theirs, holding the Gauchos to just six hits and two runs with nine combined strikeouts. Giacone tossed the first six innings and allowed one run on three hits with three walks and eight strikeouts, while Magee matched his teammate with one run allowed on three hits over the final three innings.
Coast jumped out to a 3-0 lead after three innings, highlighted by an RBI-double by Kauhaahaa and an infield RBI-single off the bat of Josh Berman.
Saddleback used an RBI-double by Willie Lajoie to make it 3-1 in the top of the fourth and it stayed that way until the sixth, when OCC pulled away from the Gauchos.
With runners on first and second, a third strike was kicked around by Saddleback catcher Brett Auerbach, allowing Domenic Donato to come around all the way from second base to score, putting OCC up, 4-1.
Jacob Doty followed with a sacrifice fly to put the Pirates up, 5-1. In the eighth, Stehly came through with the big hit, driving in two with a triple into the right-center gap. Landon Silver brought in Stehly with a sacrifice fly to put OCC up, 8-1.
OCC will return to Wendell Pickens Field on Tuesday against Fullerton, beginning at 2 p.m.