Playing its last series of the season, Orange Coast College’s baseball team showed no signs of slowing down as it put up a dominating offensive performance against Santa Ana College in their first matchup of the three-game series.

The bats exploded for the Pirates scoring a season-high in runs against the Dons on Tuesday with the final score of 17-8.

“[Santa Ana] gave us a lot of walks and free bases,” OCC head coach Nate Johnson said. “We were able to take advantage of it and get some big hits and score a lot of runs, which is always nice.”

The Dons scored the first run of the game on an RBI single to left field to take an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning.

With two outs in the top of the first inning, Santa Ana was prepared to score more with bases loaded. OCC freshman pitcher Chase Rousello stopped them as he struck out freshman outfielder Ryann Stock to end the top of the first inning. 

In the bottom of the inning, the Pirates’ offense took complete control of the game.

Sophomore outfielder Logan Jackson started the offensive domination for the Pirates as he hit an RBI single to center field to tie the game at one in the bottom of the first inning. Jackson ran home to score later on in the inning on a wild pitch to give the Pirates a 2-1 lead.

The next three Pirates runs in the first inning were not by base hits. Instead, two of them were on RBI walks by sophomore infielders Konner Kincade and Tyler Weaver, then sophomore Emilio Morales scored on another wild pitch, this time by Santa Ana’s sophomore pitcher Aaron Rosales.

The last two runs in the first inning for the Pirates were from a two-RBI double to left center field by freshman outfielder Jake Taylor. OCC put up seven runs by the inning’s end.

“I’m just thinking clear,” Taylor said. “I’m not really trying to do too much. Just put a good bat on the ball and just let the game take over.”

The Pirates scored another five runs in the bottom of the third inning, starting with a solo shot to right center field to give the Pirates a 8-1 lead. 

With nobody out in the bottom of the third inning, OCC had Emilio Morales and Kincade in scoring position with Weaver at the plate. He hits a sacrifice fly to deep center field to bring Emilio Morales home to score and make the lead bigger for the Pirates, 9-1.

Taylor brought in Kincade home to score as well on an RBI single to right field to extend OCC’s lead to 10-1.

Jake Taylor did not start for the Pirates the majority of the season and he scored three RBIs in two hits on Tuesday. 

“Super proud of him,” Johnson said. “I liked everything that he has done [in practice] and decided to give him a start. I thought he did really well on Saturday and gave him another shot out here today and he did well again.”

Jackson brought in the fourth run of the inning for the Pirates on an RBI double to shallow right center field to give OCC a double digit lead. The throw by Santa Ana’s sophomore center fielder Dean Drake was too late to get Jackson out at second base.

The last run of the bottom of the third inning was on a RBI walk by Ku to extend the lead to 12-1.

The Pirates scored two runs each in the bottom of the fourth and fifth inning, beginning with a two-RBI single by sophomore outfielder Cary Arbolida in the bottom of the fourth inning to extend the lead to 14-1. 

Weaver hit a popup to Santa Ana’s sophomore outfielder Kyle Morrell in the bottom of the fifth inning, but Morrell lost the ball on the bright sun, causing the ball to drop to the ground. Weaver ran all the way to third base and brought another runner home to make the score 15-1. 

Freshman Ryne Lina pinch hit for freshman infielder Alec Gomez in the bottom of the fifth inning and hit an RBI single to center field, scoring OCC’s 16th run of the game.

The Dons finally scored another run in the top of the sixth inning on a two-out RBI triple to right field by Drake to score Santa Ana’s second run of the game.

The Pirates responded later on in the inning with another run of their own on an RBI double to right center field by Ku, which was the last run for the Pirates on Tuesday’s game and the most runs of any game this season, 17.

The bats started to wake up at the last minute for the Dons as they scored six runs in seven hits in the top of the ninth inning. 

Santa Ana had runners on the corners with two outs in the top of the ninth inning and freshman catcher Edward Morales grounded out to freshman second baseman Jason Carrig to end the first game of the series.

The Pirates improved their record to 7-12 in the Orange Empire Conference.

With Fullerton College’s loss to Saddleback College on Tuesday, the Pirates are now one game back of the Hornets in the OEC Conference.

OCC has the same record as Golden West College after GWC’s win against Irvine Valley College, but the Rustlers own the tiebreaker because they swept OCC earlier this season.

Orange Coast is still hopeful that they will get in the playoffs this season. 

“[The focus is] next game,” Johnson said. “We got to take care of our own business and hopefully we get some luck from other teams taking care of their business and gettin some wins to help us out, but if we can win the next two games, there is still a chance that we are going to be able to get in the playoffs.”

The Pirates will head to Santa Ana’s territory for their second game of the series on Thursday at 2 p.m.

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