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Orange County Community College Baseball : Orange Coast Still on Hold After 5-4 Loss

The South Coast Conference baseball title evaded Orange Coast College Saturday.

The Pirates, the top-ranked team in Southern California, were one win away from clinching the title after defeating Golden West on Thursday. But OCC could not secure the championship at home Saturday against second-place Rancho Santiago, losing, 5-4.

The Pirates (18-3 in conference, 29-7 overall) most likely will wrap up their fourth SCC title in the last six seasons Tuesday when they play at Compton (0-21, 0-23).

On Saturday, Pirate pitchers had trouble locating the strike zone.

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Three OCC pitchers--starter Sam August and relievers Jay Makemson and Mike Rishovd--combined to walk eight and hit two Rancho Santiago batters.

The Pirates led going into the ninth inning, 4-3. Losing pitcher Makemson (2-2) walked three before being replaced by Rishovd, who walked Matt Beltran to tie the score, 4-4. Dave Kirkpatrick followed with a sacrifice fly to center to drive in the winning run.

“We hate to lose on walks, but that’s just the way the game goes,” OCC Coach Mike Mayne said. “I thought we played really well today, except for walks.”

A first-inning walk also caused some damage. August walked Troy Barnhart and, after a force out, Ruben Gonzalez lined his 11th home run of the season over the left-field fence to put the Dons, 2-0.

Rancho Santiago right-hander Chris Shiflett (6-2) relieved starter Mike Schwabe in the eighth. After yielding an RBI single to designated hitter Dave Staton to put OCC up 4-3, he got a fly out to stop the Pirates’ rally.

Staton doubled in the Pirates’ first run in the seventh.

Shiflett gave up a pinch-hit single to Todd Oshiro in the ninth but retired the next three hitters for the win.

“We didn’t want to let them clinch it (the SCC title) against us,” Rancho Santiago Coach Don Sneddon said. “This win set a good tone going into the final week.”

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In other SCC action:

Fullerton 8, Saddleback 7--John Morin had two hits and drove in three runs for the Hornets (12-9 in conference, 18-15 overall). Saddleback (8-14, 16-17) led, 3-2, in the sixth, but Fullerton scored three in the sixth and another three in the seventh.

Rob DeYoung (6-3) was the winning pitcher.

Cypress 3, Golden West 2--Winning pitcher Jeff Mooney (5-1) and reliever Randy Bouman combined to limit the Rustlers to three hits at Golden West. Jim Jackle hit a two-run double in the third to put the Chargers ahead, 2-1. Mark Mohler’s solo homer in the sixth gave Cypress (12-8, 26-12) a 3-1 lead.

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