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Community College Baseball: Pirates piling up numbers

OCC offense continues to produce in win over Golden West as Orange Empire Conference play opens Thursday.

February 28, 2013|By Barry Faulkner

COSTA MESA — Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli said he really doesn't have a classic No. 3, cleanup, or No. 5 hitter this season, but rather a bunch of No. 6 and No. 7 hitters to fill in between the top and bottom of the order.

Regardless, the Pirates are showing they are all about producing numbers from every region of the lineup, as was the case Thursday in their 14-6 win over visiting Golden West in the Orange Empire Conference opener for both teams.

De facto OCC cleanup hitter Austin Saenz certainly acted the part against the Rustlers, driving in five runs and going three for five with a single, double and triple.

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Saenz, a freshman who redshirted last season at Cal State Fullerton, spearheaded a 17-hit attack to which all nine OCC starters contributed hits. Eight Pirates drove in runs and eight scored at least one run to allow the hosts (13-3, 1-0 in conference) to rally from a 3-0 deficit.

OCC, which ranks second in the state in runs (108) and is fourth in the state with a .304 team batting average, was also led by sophomore leadoff man Zach Nehrir, who went three for four, was hit by a pitch, drove in a run and scored three.

Sophomore third baseman Manny Argomaniz, the No. 3 hitter, was two for four with one RBI and two runs scored, while sophomore first baseman Danny Jiminez was one for four with two RBIs and one run in the No. 5 spot.

Freshman designated hitter Anthony Virgen and freshman left fielder Cody Bruder, occupying the Nos. 6 and 7 spots, were both two for three with one RBI.

Greg Espinoza, a slick-fielding freshman shortstop hitting in the No. 9 spot, was two for three with a run scored, while sophomore second baseman Ricky Navarro (the No. 2 hitter), and freshman catcher Tucker Chad (batting No. 8) both had one hit and one RBI. Navarro scored twice and Chadd once as OCC tormented Rustlers pitching.

"I was really impressed with our offense today," said Altobelli, whose team has now scored in double figures three times and had at least 10 hits in 12 games. "Our guys had quality at-bats and executed when we had our hit and run plays going. I thought they didn't try to do too much. They were staying inside the ball and using the whole field. I thought it was one of our better offensive outings this year."

Saenz typified the OCC hitters' consistently sound approach. He came to the plate in the eighth inning needing a home run to complete a cycle, but refused to overswing.

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