McConnell, Bradford lift baseball team to win at Golden West

McConnell, Bradford lift baseball team to win at Golden West

Irvine Valley's baseball team got a clutch solo home run from freshman center fielder Ben McConnell in the top of the eighth inning and then freshman pitcher Noah Bradford stranded the basses loaded in the ninth inning to help the Lasers come away with a 7-6 win over Golden West on the road on Saturday afternoon.

The Lasers captured the Orange Empire Conference series with the victory, taking two of three games.

Irvine Valley improved its record to 13-10 overall and 3-3 in conference play. Golden West went to 11-10 overall and 2-4 in conference.

All three games were as close as you can get with each one being decided by just a run.

Saturday's game was tied, 6-6, after the bottom of the seventh inning. And that is when McConnell hit his first home run of the year over the left field fence, leading off the eighth inning.

It gave Irvine Valley a 7-6 advantage and Bradford did the rest.

After getting an out in the bottom of the ninth inning, Dayton and Marquez hit back-to-back singles to put runners on first and second. After Bradford got Austin Schell to fly out for the second out, he walked Josue Lopez to load the bases.

But Bradford didn't give in and got Whitaker to fly out to strand the runners and end the game.

IVC led, 3-0, early on after sophomore left fielder Wyatt McGinnis had an RBI single in the top of the first and then McConnell knocked in two runs with a single in the top of the second.

Golden West picked up two runs in the bottom of the second and then took a 4-3 in the bottom of the fourth inning.

IVC tied the game in the top of the fifth inning on an RBI single by sophomore designated hitter Zack Stack.

Each team scored two runs in the seventh inning, with IVC getting them on a sacrifice fly by sophomore right fielder Grant Rockefeller and another sac fly by freshman third baseman David Rojas.

McConnell ended up going 3 for 5 with a home run, double, two runs scored and three RBI to lead the way.

Sophomore third basemen Cooper Moore was 1 for 3 with two walks for IVC, which had eight hits in the game.

Freshman Jason Farese started the game on the mound for the Lasers and went 1.2 innings, allowing two runs on no hits and four walks with one strikeout.

Freshman Chad Burchit relieved Farese and went 4.2 innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on six hits and one walk with four strikeouts.

Bradford got the win, his first of the year, pitching 2.2 scoreless innings. He gave up three hits and one walk.

Irvine Valley plays again on Tuesday at Riverside at 2 p.m. The Lasers are slated to host Riverside on Thursday at 2 p.m.

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