COSTA MESA — Just six games into the 2013 season, one performance or one game can still greatly alter the statistics of an entire roster.
But the Orange Coast College baseball team will hope that an atypical outing in Saturday’s 12-8 nonconference loss to Long Beach City College in the Pirates’ home opener, won’t carve into the collective psyche of a squad ranked No. 3 in the Southern California preseason poll.
OCC (4-2) had fashioned a 1.67 earned-run average and allowed eight runs total in its first five games.
But Long Beach (2-2) produced 10 earned runs against four Pirates pitchers on Saturday, upping the Pirates’ season ERA to 3.12.
“The theme for this team is pitching and defense, but obviously those came back to bite us,” OCC Coach John Altobelli said after OCC allowed 15 hits, the first home run by an opponent, hit a batter and committed a pair of errors that led to two unearned runs. “Our offense did really well, but our pitching, which had been great all year, struggled. That wasn’t us.”
Despite four of the five OCC pitchers surrendering runs, the hosts, bolstered by six Vikings errors, led, 8-7, heading into the final inning.
But Long Beach used four hits and two walks to score five runs to turn David Longville’s would-be save into his first loss of the season.
OCC seized leads of 4-0 and 6-4, before the Vikings went ahead, 7-6, in the top of the seventh inning.
But the Pirates, for whom sophomore first baseman Danny Jiminez, freshman right fielder Austin Saenz, sophomore shortstop Manny Argomaniz and freshman catcher Christian Fillingame had two hits apiece, saw it all fall apart after scoring twice in the eighth to lead, 8-7.
Two one-out singles and a walk loaded the bases against Longville, who retired the first Viking he faced to retire the side in the eighth and leave two runners on base. After his second strikeout of the ninth inning, Longville walked in the tying run, then surrendered a two-run double to Derrick Garcia and a two-run single to Jaime Valle.
OCC managed two hits in the last of the ninth, but Nick Wood worked out of the jam to earn the victory and cap a three-inning outing in which he allowed just one run.
Argomaniz, who had two triples and one run batted in and has a team-best six RBIs this season, made both of his team’s errors to add to the uncharacteristic nature of OCC’s performance.
Fillingame did throw out two would-be base stealers to provide a defensive highlight for the Pirates.
OCC starting pitcher Kyle Dowdy, who allowed just one hit and no earned runs in six innings in his first start, blanked the Vikings through three innings. But Long Beach, which OCC defeated, 5-3, on Thursday, scored one in the fourth and three in the fifth to chase the transfer from Hawaii.
Sophomore Garrett Hartwell allowed two hits on two runs in one inning, before freshman Joe Reta worked 1 1/3 innings, allowing one unearned run on three hits.
Longville, another Hawaii transfer who had allowed just two hits and no runs in five relief innings that included one save coming in, was charged with five runs, all earned, on four hits to absorb his first loss.
Zach Nehrir, Ricky Navarro, Saenz and Argomaniz had one RBI apiece, while sophomore designated hitter Andrew Alvarez drove in two runs for the Pirates.
OCC benefited from six Long Beach errors that led to three unearned runs.
Garcia went four for five with a solo home run and four RBIs, while Daniel Pitts had four hits and Valle went three for six with four RBIs for the winners.
OCC plays host to College of the Canyons on Tuesday at 2 p.m.
Long Beach 12, Orange Coast 8
SCORE BY INNINGS
LB 000 130 305 – 12 15 6
OCC 013 011 200 – 8 11 2
Navar, Barra (6), Wood (7) and Valle; Dowdy, Hartwell (6), Reta (7), Longville (7), Hill (9) and Fillingame. W – Wood, 1-0. L – Longville, 0-1. 2B – Garcia (LB) 2, Valle (LB), Navarro (OCC), Bruder (OCC). 3B – Argomaniz (OCC) 2. HR – Garcia (LB).