COSTA MESA -- Even after taking a big shot by the Riverside City College Tigers, the Orange Coast College softball team showed the moxie of a team that is learning how to win consistently as the Pirates pulled out a 4-3 victory over the visiting Tigers on Friday.
The Pirates (7-1, 2-1 in Orange Empire Conference) were cruising along to a comfy 3-0 lead in the fifth inning and looked to blow the game open when an unfortunate bounce of the turned the momentum over to the Tigers (5-5, 0-2 in OEC).
With a runner on second and only one out, Liana Castro hit a line shot towards left, but RCC third baseman Danielle Lopez managed to get a piece of Castro's liner and deflected the ball to shortstop Karter Williams, who managed to get OCC's baserunner into a rundown. Not only did the Tigers retire the Pirate baserunner, they also managed to tag out Castro at second base for an improbable inning-ending double play.
Riverside took that positive mojo into the sixth and used a bunt single, a hit-by-pitch and a three-run home run by Lopez to tie the game at 3.
But the Pirates didn't panic and in the bottom of the sixth, regained the lead for good. Madison LeClaire got things going with a double down the left-field line. Pinch-runner Alexis Christian was moved over to third on a sacrifice bunt by Janae Gomez, followed by a clutch RBI-single to center off the bat of Madison Taylor.
Riverside threatened in the top of the seventh when Loreal Fuerte led off with a bunt single. But starting pitcher Bronwyn Jarvis returned to the pitcher's circle and retired the final three batters of the game to pick up her first save of the year. Jarvis finished the game allowing three runs on six hits with no walks and four strikeouts. Reliever Sarah Ramirez (2-0) pitched a scoreless inning of work to pick up the win.
Coast grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first when Brooklyn Pack doubled to left-center, advanced to third on a ground out and scored on a sacrifice fly by LeClaire.
It stayed that way until the fourth when Joanna Michaels walked with the bases loaded to put OCC up, 2-0.
In the fifth, the Pirates scored again when Pack singled, stole second and scored on an RBI-single by Jessica Scotty.
Coast returns to the OCC Softball Complex on Saturday at 1 p.m. against Grossmont College.