COSTA MESA — Life is good for Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli. His Pirates improved to 6-0 Friday with an 8-2 nonconference home win against Long Beach and OCC is now 27-5 in February the last three seasons.
So embarrassing are Altobelli's riches, he can give most of his starters a day off without tendering a similar respite to opposing pitchers.
So it was that a lineup including only four regulars pounded out 12 hits to improve the Pirates' season batting average from .323 to .330.
Of the 16 position players OCC has used in 2012, each one has at least one hit and all but two have driven in a run.
"I'm playing everybody, which is nice," Altobelli said after sweeping a three-game series from the Vikings (1-3), who OCC outscored, 24-5. "The second-string guys started today and they are not really second-string guys. They could start for any team and those guys came in and did a great job. I'm trying to win the game and still give everyone a chance to play, so I kind of like where we're at right now."
Center fielder Zach Nehrir (two), right fielder Andrew Bynum, and shortstop Manny Argomaniz came off the bench to contribute hits on Thursday. Nehrir added two RBIs, two stolen bases and one run.
Usual starters Chris Carlson, Boog Powell and Eilert Meyers combined for eight hits. Carlson, a sophomore left fielder, was three for five with a home run and four RBIs.
Powell, a freshman who came in batting .591, was three for five with two runs and a stolen base to actually raise his average to .593.
Meyers, a sophomore who has been sharing first base/designated hitter duties with Bryan Garza, played first and went two for four with one run scored.
Carlson, who led the team with 40 RBIs last season, now has nine RBIs this season more than double the quartet who have the second-most on the team (four). He is hitting .421 in 2012.
Powell's 16 hits this season are three more than the two next-most productive hitters on the team combined (eight for Carlson and five for Ben Agredano).
"Gosh, it's so fun watching him play," Carlson said of Powell, whose legs and glove got a rest as he was the designated hitter Friday. "He's an electric guy at the top of the lineup and he's always doing something on the basepaths. I'm glad he's my teammate."
Carlson, whose three-run homer just cleared the fence in right-center to key a three-run third for the hosts, said he is also happy that virtually the entire roster is contributing.
"We have so much confidence in the guys who come off the bench," said Carlson, who singled in Powell, who had tripled, in the sixth inning. "They have a big part in this team and there's not a guy who couldn't be a starter."
OCC starting pitcher Keegan Yuhl was the leading beneficiary to improve to 2-0. He retired the first 10 and did not yield an earned run before being relieved by Ryan Evans with two outs in the sixth. Yuhl struck out five and walked one and lowered his earned-run average to 0.77 in 11 2/3 innings. He gave up six hits.
Evans struck out Jeremy Ruiz with runners on the corners to end a scoreless sixth for the visitors. Evans struck out three and walked two in a hitless performance that rendered his second save. He has yet to allow a run in 4 1/3 innings.
After scoring Meyers led off with a double, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on a passed ball in the second inning, OCC sent 10 to the plate in a four-run third inning. The Pirates scored single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh.
OCC, ranked No. 2 in Southern California in a preseason coaches' poll, visits Southwestern of Chula Vista on Saturday at 2 p.m.
Orange Coast 8, Long Beach 2
SCORE BY INNINGS
LBCC 000 020 000 – 2 6 1
OCC 014 011 10x – 8 12 2
Jimenez, Beltran (5), Angus (8) and Wood, Villa (6); Yuhl, R. Evans (6) and Woodward, Hugaert (9). W – Yuhl, 2-0. L – Jimenez, 0-1. Sv – R. Evans (2). 2B – Meyers (OCC), De La Rosa (LB). 3B – Powell (OCC). HR – Carlson (OCC).