The Pirates (29-8) exploded for seven runs in the sixth inning and held on to earn the upper hand on the Bulldogs (20-17). The series continues Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m. Should a third and deciding game be required, it would follow on Saturday afternoon.
The big blow in the sixth was a two-out, two-run triple by freshman designated hitter Tristen Metcalf that knotted the score at 3-3. Metcalf was part of the top third of the batting order that went a combined 10 for 14, drove in six runs and scored three times to help Doran improve to 6-4.
Metcalf scored the go-ahead run on a drag-bunt single by sophomore right fielder Matt Moynihan, who utilized three infield hits to wind up five for five.
Moynihan, the Orange Empire Conference Co-Player of the Year, upped his batting average to .475 this season, on pace to easily break the single-season record held currently by Joey James.
Freshman left fielder Chris Carlson capped the sixth-inning outburst by yanking a three-run home run over the right-field fence. It was the second home run of the season for Carlson, whose 37 RBIs rank second on the team behind sophomore infielder Jordan Beck (42).
Carlson's blast was also a measure of redemption. He hit into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the first inning and flew out with the bases loaded in the third. He also flew out to strand two runners in the fifth.
Doran was pulled after eight innings, having retired nine straight. He worked five perfect innings, faced the minimum in another and surrendered seven hits and three earned runs. He struck out six and did not walk a batter.
"His velocity is down a little bit," OCC Coach John Altobelli said of the 6-foot-1, 175-pound right-hander who also has two saves this season. "But he's a bulldog and he competes and he did a great job for us."