COSTA MESA -- The Orange Coast College baseball team could not get that "big hit" when it was needed and suffered a heartbreaking, 2-1, 10-inning loss to visiting Golden West on Saturday at Wendell Pickens Field.
After pounding the Rustlers with 15 runs and 14 hits just two days earlier, the Pirates (24-7-1, 11-4 in Orange Empire Conference) could muster up just four hits against three different GWC (17-13, 6-9) pitchers.
After Golden West took a 2-1 lead in the top of the 10th, the Pirates looked well on their way to an improbable comeback win when Skylar Limonchi and Tommy Williams walked to start the bottom of the frame and after both runners move up to second and third on a wild pitch, Coast had the winning runs in scoring position with nobody out and the heart of the OCC order coming to the plate.
But GWC reliever Eric Romo (4-3) picked up a huge strikeout for the first out of the inning and after an intentional walk loaded the bases, reliever Alfredo Silva came in and coaxed a 6-4-3 double play to end the game.
Pitchers for both teams performed well. The Pirate trio of Brenden Argomaniz, Mychael Rhylick and Davis Delorefice combined to allow just two runs on 11 hits with 12 strikeouts, while for the Rustlers, Romo, Silva and starter Josh Ibarra allowed just one run on four hits and overcame nine walks to go along with eight strikeouts.
The top four batters in the OCC lineup -- Limonchi, Williams, Tyler Lasch and Delorefice -- reached base nine times (six walks, three strikeouts), but none of those opportunities were cashed in as the Pirates stranded 10 baserunners in the game.
With the loss, and wins by Riverside and Santa Ana, there is now a three-way tie atop the OEC standings with the Pirates, Tigers and Dons all at 11-4 with the surging Cypress Chargers just two games back at 9-6.
Coast will kick off a three-game series at home against Saddleback College on Tuesday, beginning at 2 p.m.