Pirates lose important series against Cypress

OCC freshman infielder Alec Gomez hits the ball in Friday’s game against Cypress College.

The struggles for Orange Coast College’s baseball team continued as it lost the series to Cypress College. OCC has now lost seven out of its last eight games.

Game One

Cypress ran away with game one against OCC, 14-5 on Tuesday. Struggles for OCC’s pitchers continued as they gave up eight runs to the Chargers in the fifth inning.

The Pirates offense started strong with big hits, leading Cypress 4-2 after three innings.

OCC sophomore outfielder Logan Jackson scored the first run for the Pirates with an RBI single to right field.

Sophomore infielder Jordan Ku extended the lead for the Pirates with a RBI single to second base. The ball went over Cypress freshman infielder Eddie Haciopan’s head, giving the Pirates the opportunity to score.

The Chargers responded by tying the game in the top of the third inning. Haciopan hit a one-out RBI single to center field to get Cypress on the board. He scored later on in the inning on a fielder’s choice by freshman outfielder Brenden Harris to tie the game at two.

However, the Pirates retook the lead quickly as freshmen infielder Alec Gomez tripled to left field and sophomore outfielder Cary Arbolida hit a deep laser bomb to left-center field to give the Pirates a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the third inning.

For the remainder of the game, OCC’s offense was not the same as they got three hits and one run.

Cypress went on a mission in the top of the fifth inning, scoring eight runs to give the Chargers 10-4 lead. Six Cypress players each contributed by driving in one or more runs. 

The Pirates played three pitchers in the top of the fifth inning. Sophomore Sean Bolin gave up two runs, three hits and walked one. Sophomore Jimi Welsher gave up five runs on four hits. Sophomore Jackson Ouellette gave up one run on one hit in the top of the fifth inning. 

The forgettable inning ended after Cypress sophomore infielder Noah Karliner popped out to Ku at shortstop.

All game long, OCC pitchers had problems with the home plate umpire as they believed that the balls and strikes that were called were not in their favor. 

OCC head coach Nate Johnson was ejected from the game in the top of the seventh inning after Hacopian walked.

The Chargers then pushed their lead further in the top of the seventh inning as Cypress scored four runs in five hits. Four players each had an RBI in four straight hits in the inning.

OCC’s freshman infielder Isaiah Morales scored the last run for the Pirates on a wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning. 

For the remainder of the game, the Pirates were not able to get the offense going as they struck out four times in the last two innings.

The Pirates lost the first game of the series 14-5.

When the game ended, Johnson returned to the park to talk with his team.

“We were getting hosed on some calls throughout the game,” Johnson said. “My frustrations obviously boiled over because I saw [the calls] coming onto us more than it was helping us. I thought it was hurting us.”

Johnson believed that the offense did not come out strong enough to get the job done. 

“We need to be better than that,” Johnson said. “We need to not allow the umpire to dictate the game as much as he did today. We need to play with a little more energy, enthusiasm and fire.”

In between the series games, OCC lost its make-up, non-conference matchup against Southwestern College on Wednesday, 8-2. 

“Thursday is the most important game of our year, because if we lose, we could end up missing the playoffs,” Johnson said. “That is not something that I want, I know it’s not something these guys want, so we are going to come out ready to fight on Thursday.”

Game Two

The Pirates headed to Cypress territory and bounced back nicely as Orange Coast tied the series on Thursday with a 7-3 win. 

The Chargers took the lead 2-0 after the third inning. Freshman infielder Cade Liefer hit an RBI infield single to second base in the second inning and freshman catcher Mario Tostado hit an RBI double to center field in the third.

Cypress sophomore pitcher Trey Seeley started hot as he only gave up two hits in his first four innings of work.

However, OCC’s offense erupted on Seeley to tie the game in the next inning. Sophomore infielder Garrett Bevacqua started the rally, hitting an RBI single to right field to cut the deficit to one. He ran home to score later in the inning on an RBI double to right field by Talamante. 

Chargers junior pitcher Sebastian Diaz took over on the mound for Seeley after Orange Coast tied the game at two, but the Pirates were not done scoring in the fifth inning. The last run of the inning was scored on an error by Tostado as he tried to get sophomore outfielder Cameron Mahaffy out stealing second base. Gomez took advantage and ran home from third base to score and give the Pirates a 3-2 lead in the fifth inning. 

Orange Coast did not keep the lead for long as Karliner hit a solo shot for the Chargers to tie the game at three in the bottom of the fifth inning.

The Pirates retook the lead by scoring two runs on sacrifice flies. Talamante contributed for the Pirates again as he hit a sacrifice fly to center field, giving Ku enough time to run home to retake the lead in the top of the sixth inning. Mahaffy extended the lead in the top of the eighth inning, sending sophomore infielder Tyler Weaver home to give OCC a 5-3 lead in the top of the eighth inning.

Orange Coast made sure that they kept the lead for good by scoring two more runs in the ninth inning. With two outs and bases loaded, Weaver walked, sending sophomore infielder Jake Lappin. The last run for the Pirates was on Gomez’s RBI single to shortstop, sending Ku to score.

For the last four innings, the Chargers left six runners on base and OCC’s sophomore pitcher Matt Maloney struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth inning to end game two.

OCC’s Maloney usually closes games out, but on Thursday, he pitched the last 4.1 innings of the matchup and struck out five and only gave up three hits.

Game Three

The Chargers ran away with game three on Friday with a final score of 8-2, clinching the series win.

The Cypress offense showed up and the Pirates had no answer to stop them. 

Freshman infielder Peter Werth started the fire with a two-run rainbow shot homer to right-center field in the second inning to give the Chargers a 2-0 lead.

The Chargers scored three more runs in the next four innings, all on RBI singles. 

The Pirates were not able to score until the bottom of the seventh inning when sophomore catcher Konner Kincade reached first base when CC’s Karliner had his foot off of the bag when he caught the ball. He did not realize that OCC’s Morales was running home and scored Coast’s first run of the ballgame. 

The Chargers made sure that the Pirates came nowhere close to coming back by scoring three more runs in the top of the ninth inning, including a two-RBI triple to right-center field by freshman outfielder Dean Toigo. 

Orange Coast’s Arbolida hit a two-out RBI single to left field to make it a 8-2 ballgame, but it was too little too late as Jackson grounded out to third base to end the series. 

The Pirates lost seven out of their last eight games.

“We didn’t capitalize when we had runners on base,” Johnson said. “We had too many strikeouts today and whenever you make it that easy on a team, they are going to be able to beat you.”

The Chargers struck out the Pirates 12 times.

OCC fell to 15-17 overall and 5-10 in the Orange Empire Conference

Orange Coast’s chances of making the playoffs are now in question as its last two conference series matchups are against Riverside City College and Santa Ana College.

“If we are going to get into the playoffs, we are going to have to do well against those teams and probably take both those series,” Johnson said.

Before the two conference series, the Pirates will play two non-conference home games next week, against Glendale Community College on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. and Los Angeles Mission College on Thursday at noon. 

“We know what we need to work on,” Johnson said. “Now, it is just a matter of actually working and getting better at it.”

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