IRVINE — It was somehow out of place that the deciding act in a 12-inning Orange Empire Conference baseball grudge match between visiting Orange Coast College and Irvine Valley was one of surrender.
With the bases loaded and one out in the top of the 12th inning Friday, OCC second baseman Slater Davies dutifully turned into the first pitch he faced and let the wayward, slow-tumbling curveball plunk him on the back. The resulting run batted in was the difference in a seesaw battle filled with heroic hits and impressive mound performers.
The victory helped OCC (27-7, 13-6), ranked No. 3 in Southern California, remain two games behind conference-leading Santa Ana with two conference games remaining.
OCC also stayed a game ahead of third-place Riverside, which it meets on April 26 at RCC and April 28 at OCC.
There was no surrender from either team throughout, typified best by OCC starting pitcher Ryan Doran, a sophomore workhorse who earned a save in a crucial win Tuesday over Santa Ana.