Stevens strong on mound as IVC wraps regular season with win

Stevens strong on mound as IVC wraps regular season with win

Irvine Valley's baseball team ended the 2017 regular season on a high note, beating Orange Coast, 5-3, in an Orange Empire Conference game on Friday at home.

Irvine Valley won the final game of the three-game series over Orange Coast, which is ranked No. 2 in the state and had wrapped up the conference title on Thursday with its second straight win over the Lasers.

The Pirates sat most of their regulars on Friday, but that didn't matter to sophomore pitcher John Stevens, who was on from the start on the mound for IVC.

He ended up going the distance, throwing his second complete game of the season. Stevens gave up three runs (two earned) on eight hits and he changed speeds well to get nine strikeouts.

Stevens ended the regular season with a 5-5 record with four saves. He pitched a team-high 92.0 innings, allowing just 81 hits and striking out 60. He had a 3.03 ERA, which was third best on the squad.

IVC handed OCC pitcher McKinley LeFore his first loss of the season. LeFore (8-1) went three innings and gave up four runs on six hits and two walks with three strikeouts.

It ended up being a staff day for the Pirates, who used five pitchers in the contest.

Irvine Valley took the early lead, scoring a run in the first on a RBI single by sophomore right fielder Cole Joy. Joy ended up hitting a team-high .371 for the Lasers this season.

IVC added two runs in the bottom of the second inning on a two-run double by freshman catcher Ryan Gaynor to go up, 3-0.

And in the bottom of the third inning, the Lasers extended their lead. Sophomore designated hitter Robbie Espinosa hit an RBI single through the left side of the infield to score JOy.

It was 5-0 Irvine Valey in the bottom of the fourth inning after IVC scored on an Orange Coast throwing error.

OCC got on the board with two runs in the top of the fifth on an RBI single thanks to an RBI single by Alex Lopez and then a run scoring on an Irvine Valley error.

Orange Coast added a run in the top of the seventh to pull to within 5-3, but it wasn't enough against Stevens.

The Lasers closed out the game in the top of the ninth after a fine leaping catch by freshman second baseman Colin Conroy on a hard hit line drive with runners on.

Irvine Valley had eight hits on the day. Sophomore first baseman Tyler Wagner went 3 for 4 with a run scored and Joy was 2 for 3 with a run scored, a double and an RBI. 

Domenic Donato was 2 for 3 with a run scored and one RBI, Lopez was 2 for 3 with one RBI and Jake Gozzo and Jacob Doty each went 2 for 4 with a run scored for OCC.

Irvine Valley will now wait fo the playoff pairings on Sunday. The Lasers have a shot at getting one of the final spots in the postseason.

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