COSTA MESA -- It's not always going to be picture-perfect, but for the Orange Coast College baseball team, all that matters is a win and on Thursday, the Pirates did enough to top visiting Long Beach City College, 9-6, in the opening game of the Southern California Super Regional playoffs.
With the win, OCC (32-8-1) takes a 1-0 lead in this best-of-three series, with Game 2 set for Friday at 2 p.m. at Wendell Pickens Field. If a third game is necessary, that will take place on Saturday at OCC, beginning at 1 p.m.
Davis Delorefice went 1-for-4 with a two-run home run and finished with three RBI for the Pirates, while Jacob Gentry added a hit, a run and two RBI and Joey Fregosi added a pinch-hit, two-run triple in the bottom of the eighth.
It looked like an early runaway for the Pirates against the 12th-seeded Vikings (28-16) as they grabbed a 4-0 lead after the first two innings.
Skylar Limonchi singled to left and Tommy Williams was hit by a pitch to start the bottom of the first. Two batters later, Tyler Lasch lined a single to left field to score Limonchi and put OCC up, 1-0. After a single by Murphy Stehly loaded the bases, Gentry lofted a run-scoring fly ball to left to plate Williams with the second run of the frame.
In the bottom of the second, Coast took advantage of a hit-by-pitch, a bunt single and a walk to load the bases. A pair of run-scoring grounders by Williams and Delorefice put Coast up, 4-0.
But the Vikings came to life in the middle frames, scoring a pair of runs in the top of the third and four more runs in the top of the fifth to grab a 6-4 lead. Run-scoring singles by Mark Stanford, David Balboa and Brett Wells as well as a two-run single by Robert Barham highlighted LBCC's comeback effort.
The Vikings' lead lasted all of two batters as Williams led off the bottom of the fifth with a walk and Delorefice followed with a towering two-run shot over the left-field fence to tie the game at 6.
It stayed tied until the bottom of the eighth, when Lasch walked to start the frame. Two batters later, Gentry lined a shot into the left-center field gap, scoring pinch-runner Jared Schatz from first with the go-ahead run. After a Todd Jackson walk, Joey Fregosi hit a one-hop screwball triple that spun away from the LBCC first baseman and into the right-field corner, scoring Jackson and Gentry to put OCC up, 9-6.
That would be enough insurance for Delorefice, who came in from right field to close out the game with a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his third save of the season. He saved the game for reliever Ben Davis (6-3), who pitched 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, allowing one hit, one walk and four strikeouts.