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College Baseball : Rassmussen’s 2 Homers Lead Orange Coast, 10-6

Pitchers had been overpowering Orange Coast College freshman Mark Rassmussen the last few weeks. On each at-bat, it seemed, he was hitting a weak ground ball or a lazy fly to the right side of the diamond.

But Thursday afternoon, it was Rassmussen who was overpowering. He hit his first two home runs of the season Thursday to lead the Pirates past Golden West, 10-6, in a South Coast Conference game at Huntington Beach.

By snapping a two-game losing streak, first-place Orange Coast improved its conference record to 18-2 and overall record to 29-6. The Pirates can clinch their fourth SCC title in six years by defeating second-place Rancho Santiago at Orange Coast Saturday. Orange Coast leads the Dons by four games.

Rassmussen, who had only one home run last season at Huntington Beach High School, hit a three-run home run to left off Rustler right-hander Adam Sanchez in the third inning to give Orange Coast a 4-0 lead.

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In the fifth, he hit Sanchez’s second pitch of the inning over the left-field wall to make it 5-0. Sanchez was working in relief of Dean Douty (2-6), who lasted only 1 innings.

The win marked the return of Longo Garcia to the Pirate pitching rotation. Garcia, a sophomore right-hander, has been bothered by a sore arm and missed his regular turn last Saturday.

Pitching on 11 days rest, Garcia (8-1) threw a complete game, 11-hitter. He walked one and struck out three. Garcia had yielded only Keith Kaub’s 15th homer going into the eighth, when the Rustlers got five runs off of him.

Fourth-place Golden West (11-10, 17-14) loaded the bases on consecutive singles by Todd Nash, Darrin Tomasick and Scott Rath to open the inning. Kaub then hit a two-run single and Gery Renko grounded out to second to drive home another run, cutting Orange Coast’s lead to 7-4.

George Lazalde then hit a two-run home run off the top of the scoreboard to make it 7-6.

But that’s as close as Golden West got as Garcia held on.

“Except for that inning (the eighth) Garcia was a dominating pitcher,” Orange Coast Coach Mike Mayne said. “His arm is fine again.”

Pirate first baseman Rex Peters singled in two runs during a three-run ninth as Orange Coast increased its lead to 10-6.

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In other South Coast Conference action:

Cerritos 16, Rancho Santiago 10--Bret Barberie went 3 for 6 with a double and a home run and Jim Osborn added three hits to lead the Falcons at Santa Ana. Brent Reese homered, Ruben Gonzalez had two hits and scored three runs and Frank Appice had two hits for the Dons (14-6, 24-8).

Saddleback 5, Cypress 4--The Gauchos (8-13, 16-16) scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth to upset the Chargers (11-9, 26-12) at Mission Viejo. The key hit of the rally was a three-run home run by Jeff Frei, who was 2 for 2. Pat Longo and Chris Kocman homered for Cypress.


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