Oxnard Digests Ventura After Five Little Bites : Keyword: Condors win, 5-4, in bottom of the ninth after scoring a run at a time to overcome an early deficit.

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Condor Field at Oxnard College will never be confused with Dodger Stadium. Or the Coliseum. Or the Rose Bowl.

So what was the Fuji blimp doing there Saturday?

It seems the blimp has a knack for showing up at the best games, and the Ventura-Oxnard baseball game at Condor Field certainly qualified.

There were big plays, little mistakes, clutch hits and plenty of nail-biting.

Scoring a run at a time, Oxnard crept back from a pair of two-run deficits to tie the score, took the lead, lost it, then took it back for the final time.

Fittingly, the outcome was not decided until the bottom of the ninth, after Tim Johnson tripled and Steve Susko drove a single over a drawn-in infield.

The run gave the Condors, the surprise team of the Western State Conference, a thrilling 5-4 victory.

The win improved Oxnard to 4-0 in conference play and 13-9 overall. Ventura, 14-4 overall, fell to 1-2 in the WSC.

Pirate Coach Gary Anglin blamed his team's defense and his own decision-making for the defeat.

Ventura, which committed three errors in a loss to Canyons on Friday, added four more against Oxnard.

"The errors just took us out of the ballgame," Anglin said. "Oxnard didn't go out and physically beat us.

"We need practice time, obviously. We played great defense for 14 games, and now all of a sudden we don't play defense."

Anglin also questioned one of his pitching changes. Freshman Andy Moffat made his first start of the season and left in the sixth inning with a 3-2 lead and runners at first and second.

Anglin went to Anthony Espinoza, who induced Chris Gaston to hit a chopper to first base. But the ball bounced off Carlos Rios' thigh for an error and Rich Tepesano scored from second with the tying run.

Espinoza walked the next batter but struck out Carlos Cardenas to end the inning.

In the seventh, Anglin went to Jason Kernan, who gave up a single and filled the bases with a pair of walks.

Kernan struck out Pat Avila, then Anglin replaced Kernan with Harvey Jones, who threw four pitches to Tepesano and walked in the go-ahead run.

"I made the wrong decision," Anglin said. "If I leave Espinoza in, maybe that doesn't happen."

Ventura tied the score, 4-4, in the ninth when Mitch King doubled and Tim Cornish delivered his third single of the game.

But Johnson grounded his triple into the gap in left-center in the bottom of the ninth and, after two intentional walks, Susko drilled his game-winning hit off Jones (0-1).

Tim Salado (3-1) went the distance for Oxnard, scattering eight hits. Salado struck out just three, but he retired 12 in a row in the middle innings.

"About the last three innings I was just throwing strikes and letting them hit it. I didn't have much left," Salado said.

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