Baseball team edged by Orange Coast in conference battle

Baseball team edged by Orange Coast in conference battle

Irvine Valley's baseball team, behind a strong effort on the mound from sophomore right-hander Austin Reynolds, did everything it could to try and knock off one of the top squads in the state on Tuesday afternoon at home.

But second-ranked Orange Coast had the answer. The Pirates held on for a 2-1 win in the first of a three-game Orange Empire Conference series.

Orange Coast, which leads the conference standings, improved its record to 30-8 overall and 15-4 in conference. Irvine Valley's record slipped to 17-21 overall and 5-14 in conference.

It was a pitcher's duel between Reynolds and Orange Coast's Kyle Robeniol most of the way.

Each hurler threw six scoreless innings.

Orange Coast finally broke through against Reynolds in the top of the seventh with two runs.

J.T. Navarro, who went 5 for 5 at the plate on the day, hit a two-run double to left center to give the Pirates a 2-0 lead.

With Robeniol out of the game in the eighth inning, the Lasers cut the Pirate lead to 2-1 with a walk, two OCC errors and a RBI single by sophomore right fielder Cole Joy. The single brought in sophomore shortstop Tyler Odekirk, who had walked to open the inning against reliever Austin Moore.

Orange Coast tried to make it a two-run game again in the top of the ninth inning.

Powers doubled to open the frame and then with one out, Navarro singled to left field. But IVC freshman left fielder Wyatt McGinnis fired a strike to home and freshman catcher Ryan Gaynor was able to apply the tag on Powers.

In the bottom of the ninth, freshman pinch hitter Zack Stack singled to left off of Orange Coast reliever Blair Lewis, but the Lasers couldn't mount any more of a comeback as Lewis retired the next three batters.

Robeniol got the win to improve to 6-0 on the year. He went 7.0 innings and gave up six hits and one walk with four strikeouts.

Lewis went 2.0 innings for the save. He allowed two hits and had two strikeouts.

Reynolds took the tough loss for the Lasers and saw his record slip to 4-5. He went 8.0 innings and gave up two runs on 12 hits with four strikeouts.

Freshman Rafael Salas pitched the ninth and gave up two hits with one strikeout.

Besides Navarro's stellar day at the plate for OCC, Powers was 3 for 4 with a run scored and Ramiro Velasco went 2 for 3.

Joy was 2 for 4 with one RBI for the Lasers and sophomore designated hitter Robbie Espinosa went 2 for 4.

The second game of the series is on Thursday at Orange Coast at 2 p.m.

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