COSTA MESA -- A middle-inning offensive explosion proved to be the difference for the Orange Coast College baseball team as the Pirates rolled to a 16-7 Orange Empire Conference win over visiting Fullerton College on Thursday.
Trailing 5-1 through the first three innings, the Pirates (1-1) grabbed the lead and never looked back, courtesy of a six-run sixth inning and a five-run eighth.
Nolan Funke led the 18-hit Pirate attack by going 3-for-3 with two runs scored and four RBI. Six different Pirates had multi-hit games, including Cary Arbolida, who added three hits of his own to go along with a run scored and two RBI. Cameron Mahaffy came off the bench and slugged a three-run home run before David Morgan capped off the scoring with a two-run blast in the eighth.
Reliever Alex Shadid (1-0) helped stem the momentum started by the Hornets (1-1), by throwing five quality innings, allowing just two runs on three hits with a walk and eight strikeouts.
Jonathan Robinson channeled his inner Ebby Calvin "Nuke" LaLoosh from "Bull Durham" to collect his first save. He threw the final three innings, allowing two runs (one earned) with no hits, six walks and six strikeouts.
In all, the Pirate pitchers left everyone perplexed with 10 walks, but also 16 strikeouts.
Trailing 5-4, Coast had seven straight batters reach base in a game-changing, six-run sixth inning. RBI-hits by Chase Hanson, Arbolida and Andrew Cromwell pushed the lead over to the hosts Before a two-run double by Brandon Guy and a sacrifice fly by Funke pushed the advantage to 10-5.
Fullerton trimmed the deficit to 10-7, but that would be as close as the Hornets would get the rest of the way as OCC tacked on a run in the seventh before the aforementioned home runs from Mahaffy and Morgan blew the game wide open.
Both teams will finish up their series on Friday at Fullerton College, beginning at 12 p.m. OCC returns to Wendell Pickens Field on Tuesday to kick off a week-long series against Irvine Valley, beginning at 2 p.m.