Pirates rally to edge Vaqueros 9-8

Orange Coast erased an 8-4 deficit with four runs in the bottom of the ninth in Friday’s Southern Cal Super Regional baseball opener, then beat SBCC 9-8 on Chris Carlson’s walk-off homer in the 10th.

“That’s a tough loss,” said Vaquero coach Ryan Thompson. “We had ‘em and we messed up. We threw to the wrong base (in the ninth, allowing the tying run to score). That’s a tough way to lose.”
The WSC North champion Vaqueros (24-16) will meet Cerritos (23-15) on Saturday at Fullerton College in an elimination game, starting at 10 a.m. Santa Ana, the No. 3 seed with a 28-12 record, routed No. 8 Cerritos 12-3 on Friday and will host No. 4 Orange Coast (31-8) on Saturday at 11 a.m.
If No. 7 Santa Barbara beats Cerritos, it will play again at 3 p.m. at Santa Ana against the Santa Ana-OCC loser.
The Vaqueros got off to a super start with leadoff hitter Robert Vickers collecting a single, a grand slam and a two-run double in the first three innings. He went 3-6 with six RBIs.
Vickers has reached base 11 times in the last three games and batted in each of the first three innings for the third straight game. The grand slam, a towering blast to right-center with one out in the second, gave SBCC an early 4-0 lead.
In the third, Shay Maltese walked and Andrew Smith drove a ball up the middle for the first of his three singles. Vickers doubled to right to score both runners and boost the margin to 6-0.
The Pirates, runners-up in the Orange Empire League, scored four in the fourth off Kylin Turnbull. The Vaquero starter went seven innings, allowing four runs on eight hits with seven strikeouts and six walks.
Smith had an RBI single in the fifth and the Vaqueros went up 8-4 in the ninth when Colt McLaughlin singled, stole second and scored on a throwing error.
Submarine reliever DJ Gunderson, the star of last week’s 2-1 Regional series win over Riverside, got through the eighth inning unscathed. The ninth was a different story as Matt Moynihan rapped his fourth hit and Carlson singled to right. Trent Woodard drilled a three-run homer to pull the Pirates within one, 8-7.
Anthony Perry relieved Gunderson and got a pop-up to shortstop. He walked the next three batters to load the bases, then got the second out on a fly to left. McLaughlin threw to second base to try to double up the runner and as he did, Tristen Metcalf took off for home and beat the throw to tie the game.
In the 10th, Moynihan flied out to center and Carlson hit a 3-0 pitch over the right-center fence for the victory.
“That’s just baseball,” said Vickers. “A couple calls didn’t go our way and a couple plays didn’t go our way. We’ll come back tomorrow ready to play.”
Chris Joyce (7-0, 1.78 ERA), the WSC North Pitcher of the Year, will start for the Vaqueros in Saturday’s game against Cerritos.

At Santa Ana College
(10 innings)
SBCC ……………… 042 010 001 0 — 8 13 0
Orange Coast …… 000 400 004 1 — 9 12 2

One out when winning run scored.
Turnbull, Gunderson (8), Perry (9) and White; Doran, O’Keefe (5), Malt by (8), Evans (10) and Woodard. W–Evans (4-0). L–Perry (1-3).
2B–SB: White, Vickers. OC: Moynihan. 3B–OC: Cho. HR–SB: Vickers (4), 2nd inn., three on. OC: Woodard (1), 9th inn., two on; Carlson (3), 10th inn., none on.