COSTA MESA -- The old baseball adage, "An ugly win is better than a pretty loss" was in FULL effect on Tuesday at Wendell Pickens Field as the Orange Coast College baseball team outlasted visiting Saddleback, 13-10.
With the win, OCC (25-7-1, 12-4 in the Orange Empire Conference) will maintain its share of first place in the OEC with Riverside City College, who knocked off Santa Ana, 8-4 on Tuesday. The Dons are now one game back of the Pirates and Tigers, while Cypress remains two back of first after a 7-2 win over Golden West.
Murphy Stehly added his name to the OCC record books by going 5-for-5 with five runs scored and three RBI, while Jacob Gentry went 2-for-5 with five RBI and Tyler Lasch added three hits and three runs with an RBI as well for California's fourth-ranked Pirates. Stehly joins a plethora of Pirates who hold the school record for most hits in a game (5).
For the Gauchos (15-16, 5-11), Riley Kasper went 2-for-5 with four RBI, while Ryan Thibert and Chris Demgen each had three hits and two RBI.
Coast jumped on Saddleback starter Jacob Frankel for four runs in the bottom half of the first inning, but the Gauchos responded quickly with a six-run second, highlighted by a three-run triple by Kasper.
Saddleback would not go away and grabbed a 9-7 advantage in the top of the sixth, thanks to a two-run single by Thibert and an RBI-single by Demitri Colacchio.
But the back-and-forth saga continued in the bottom of the sixth as the Pirates came right back with three runs of their own to take a 10-9 lead, courtesy of an RBI-single by Stehly and a two-run single to left-center off the bat of Gentry.
An RBI-single by Kasper in the top of the eighth knotted the game back up at 10, but once again, the Pirate bats kept rolling as an RBI-single by Stehly, an RBI-grounder by Gentry and another RBI-hit by Fregosi pushed the Pirates' lead up to 13-10.
That would be enough for starter-turned-closer Cole Van Den Helder, who retired Gauchos in order in the top of the ninth to preserve the win.
Game 2 of this three-game series takes place at Saddleback College on Thursday, beginning at 2 p.m. with the series finale back at OCC on Saturday, beginning at 12 p.m.