COSTA MESA -- After a 398-day hiatus, the Orange Coast College baseball team took to the field in a real baseball game on Tuesday, but the Pirates were their own worst enemy with an 8-5 loss to visiting Fullerton College in the season opener and Orange Empire Conference opener for both teams.
OCC left 13 runners on base as the heart of the lineup had a rough afternoon at the plate. Meanwhile the middle of the Fullerton lineup contributed the majority of the damage as their 3-4-5 hitters went a combined 7-for-12 with six runs and six RBI.
Coast jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the early innings before the Hornets grouped together four straight hits to cap off a four-run fourth inning. That outburst was capped off by a two-run home run off the bat of Matt Darr.
The lead grew to 6-2 before the Pirates rallied in the bottom of the sixth. Andrew Cromwell kicked things off with a one-out, solo home run to cut the deficit to 6-3. A hit-by-pitch by Garrett Bevacqua and a walk by Jake Lappin put runners on first and second with one out. Jordan Ku hit a potential double-play grounder to first, but the throw to second hit Lappin in the back, allowing Bevacqua to come around to score, trimming the deficit to 6-4. Jarred Schatz was then hit by a pitch to load the bases for the Pirates and a fielder's choice grounder by Chase Hanson scored Lappin to make it 6-5, but the Pirates got a little too aggressive on the play as Ku tried to score from second, but was thrown out to end the inning.
That would be as close as the Pirates would get, as Fullerton tacked on single runs in the eighth and ninth innings to make it 8-5. A ninth-inning, two-out rally made things interesting for both teams, but in the end, the Pirates ended the game with the bases loaded, giving the hosts 13 LOBs for the game.
David Morgan went 2-for-5 with an RBI, while Cromwell added a solo home run, two runs and one RBI for OCC.
Both teams will return to Wendell Pickens Field on Thursday, beginning at 2 p.m. Once again, due to COVID-19 restrictions, no fans will be allowed inside the ballpark.