The Saddleback baseball team defeated the top-ranked team in Southern California on Saturday with a 6-5 win at Orange Coast College. The Gauchos scored a go-ahead run in the top of the 11th inning for their first win in two weeks.
Saddleback had a daunting task on Saturday, trying to bounce back from two frustrating losses to Orange Coast on Tuesday (13-10) and Thursday (18-7). The Gauchos responded with a gritty performance, batting for a hard-fought win against a Pirate team that outhit them 15-8 for the day.
Saddleback finished off the much-needed win by scoring the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th inning and then holding off Orange Coast in the bottom half of the inning. The Gauchos scored the eventual game-winner when Ryan Thibert doubled home Filip Smola for a 6-5 lead. Saddleback then turned the ball over to Hunter Ash in the bottom half of the inning, and he managed to get Jacob Gentry to fly out to left field for the final out of the game with the tying run at first base.
Saddleback saw its pitching staff get worn out earlier in the week when they gave up 31 runs in two games versus the Pirates. The Gauchos used six different pitchers on Saturday, with Jacob Frankel (2-0) pitching the 10th inning to pick up his second win of the season.
Saddleback had eight hits on the day, taking advantage of a flurry of miscues in the field from Orange Coast. The Pirates committed six errors in total, allowing the Gauchos to score four unearned runs. Reed Beverly was the lone Saddleback player with multiple hits, finishing 2-for-5.
Saddleback improved to 16-17 overall and 6-12 in Orange Empire Conference play with the win. The Gauchos remain in sole possession of sixth place in the OEC with three games remaining in conference play.
Saddleback will head to the Central Valley for a three-game set at College of the Sequoias next week. The Gauchos then return home for a final OEC series against Irvine Valley College the following week.