COSTA MESA -- The Orange Coast College baseball celebrated its 70th birthday in grand fashion, courtesy of a 4-2 Orange Empire Conference win over visiting Fullerton College on Saturday at Wendell Pickens Field, completing a three-game sweep over the Hornets.
With the win -- OCC's fifth in a row and 10th it its past 11 games -- the Pirates (23-11, 11-4 in OEC) continue to hold a two-game lead on Saddleback (24-10, 9-6) and a three-game lead on Cypress (23-11, 8-7) and Fullerton (16-17, 8-7) atop the conference standings with six games remaining.
OCC starter Cameron Jabara pitched seven strong innings for the Pirates, improving to 4-2 overall. The sophomore allowed just one run on four hits with four walks and five strikeouts. Doug Magee pitched a clean eighth inning before Josh Berman earned his fifth save of the season in the ninth.
Sean Henry took the loss for the Hornets, allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits over five innings.
Fullerton took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth. A pair of walks and a single loaded the bases and with two outs, Angel Lopez walked in a run for the Hornets before Jabara retired the next batter to end the frame.
But Coast quickly responded in the bottom of the fourth when a single by Coby Kauhaahaa, a hit batter by Chris Ceballos and an infield error of the bat of Domenic Donato loaded the bases with nobody out.
Berman stepped up and unloaded the bases with a three-run triple, putting the Pirates up, 3-1. Ramiro Velasco followed with an RBI-double to plate Berman to make it 4-1, Coast.
It stayed that way until the ninth, when the Hornets pieced together three hits to cut the deficit to 4-2. But Berman settled down and struck out Jake Anderson with the tying runs on base to end the threat and give OCC the victory.
Berman finished the afternoon 3-for-4 with a single, double and triple to go along with a run scored and three RBI. Kauhaahaa notched a pair of hits and a run scored.
Prior to the first pitch, OCC hall of famer and member of the 1956 state championship team, Jim Newkirk, threw out the first pitch to help celebrate the school's and the team's 70th anniversary.
Coast will return to action on Tuesday at home against Irvine Valley, beginning at 2 p.m.