COSTA MESA — It was back to business for the Orange Coast College baseball team on Sunday. And, as has been the case during a monumental 2012 season, business is booming for the Pirates.
The No. 1-ranked team in the state, which is also ranked atop one national poll, hammered Los Angeles Valley, 9-1, to complete a best-of-three sweep in the Southern California Regional held Saturday and Sunday at OCC.
The Pirates needed extra innings to prevail, 6-5, on Saturday, when they lost a 4-0 lead in the ninth and fell behind in the 10th, before rallying for the walk-off triumph.
But Sunday was more of a walk in the ballpark for Coach John Altobelli's 33-4-1 juggernaut, which continues to display more than enough talent to offset its picayune weaknesses.
"This was more us today," Altobelli said after Sunday's conquest, in which freshman pitcher Brandon Brennan allowed no earned runs and just six hits in eight innings to improve to 10-1. "We were more business-like. A lot of guys were doing things differently [Saturday], than they have done all year. So, we talked about going back to our routine and what we do and not trying to do any more because it's the playoffs. We don't need to try harder, because it's the playoffs. We just need to do what we do."
What the Pirates did Sunday was amass 16 hits and score in four innings.
Sophomore left fielder Stefan Sabol was three for four with four runs batted in, including a two-run home run. The only out he made was a would-be single that was fielded on a short-hop by the left fielder, who threw to second in time to get a force out, rendering the play a fielder's choice. Sabol was five for nine in the regional with five RBIs and one stolen base.
Freshman right fielder Bijan Rademacher was three for five and sophomore shortstop Joel Licon was three for six with a home run. Rademacher also pitched a perfect ninth inning, as a group of professional scouts honed radar guns on his left-handed fastball that has reached 94 mph.
Sophomore first baseman Eilert Meyers was two for four with an RBI, making him four for eight with three RBIs in the regional.
Sophomore designated hitter Bryan Garza, the walk-off hero on Saturday with a two-run single, was one for three with an RBI on Sunday. He finished with three hits and three RBIs in the regional.
Freshman center fielder Boog Powell was one for six to give him four hits in the regional.
With the win, Brennan, a bounce-back from Oregon who has committed to the University of Houston, matches fellow ace Keegan Yuhl, the Orange Empire Conference Pitcher of the Year, both with 10-1 records. The two starters have as many combined wins as Los Angeles Valley (20-19) accumulated all season.
Brennan struck out five and did not issue a walk, lowering his earned-run average to 1.30 in 90 1/3 innings.
The embarrassment of OCC riches was accentuated by the absence of conference Player of the Year Chris Carlson (bruised foot), leaving the offense without its conference triple crown winner who hit .440 with seven homers and 42 RBIs in the regular season.
OCC, the designated visitor Sunday, also played without sophomore second baseman Justin Broussard, who hit .312 with 10 RBIs in the regular season. Broussard has a back injury that could sideline him for the season," Altobelli said.
"If we were healthy, I'd be thinking 'Wow!" Altobelli said of his talented lineup. "Hopefully [Carlson] can go next week [in the four-team, double-elimination Super Regional that OCC will host, Friday through Sunday]."
Defense was less than sterling for the weekend, however, as OCC made two more errors Sunday to give it five for the regional.
It's the fifth time in six seasons that OCC has advanced to the Super Regionals. The Pirates won the state title in 2009 and some believe that anything less this season would be a supreme disappointment.
Southern California Regional
Orange Coast 9, LA Valley 1
SCORE BY INNING
OCC 001 042 020 – 9 16 2
LAV 000 100 000 – 1 6 2
Brennan, Rademacher (9) and Woodward; Armas, Perez (6), Torrey (6), Ravello-Diaz (9) and Doran. W – Brennan, 10-1. L – Armas, 9-3. 2B – Sabol (OCC), Folkers (LAV). HR – Sabol (OCC), Licon (OCC).