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Hill propels Pirates

Community College Baseball

OCC ace takes the ball and delivers complete-game win, as Cypress' Kane unable.

March 20, 2014|By Barry Faulkner
  • Orange Coast College's David Hill throws to Cypress College's Jack Flansburg during an Orange Empire Conference game on Thursday. Hill went the distance for a 4-2 win over Cypress.
Orange Coast College's David Hill throws to Cypress… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

It was arm discomfort that prompted Cypress College baseball coach Scott Pickler to shuffle his pitching ace from a scheduled start Thursday against Orange Coast to Saturday.

For Orange Coast ace David Hill, who awoke Thursday with a slight illness, it was a sore spot of a different variety that helped him talk Pirates Coach John Altobelli into giving him the ball against the visiting Chargers.

"[Altobelli] mentioned maybe having me go Saturday instead, but I said 'No way!'" said Hill, who allowed one run and six hits in 10 innings but took a no-decision in Cypress' 2-1 win in 13 innings on Feb. 27 at OCC. "I said 'Give me the ball and let me throw against these guys and we'll get two out of three."

Hill came through on his vow, throwing his first complete game of the season to key a 4-2 Orange Empire Conference win. The triumph allowed OCC (18-5, 6-3 in conference), ranked No. 1 in Southern California, to take the season series against the defending state champions (12-10, 5-4), ranked No. 9 in Southern California.

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"It was a bulldog performance," Altobelli said of Hill's sixth win in as many decisions this season, in which he allowed six hits and two runs, both earned, and struck out seven. The two earned runs are news, as they give the sophomore Long Beach State bounce-back just six earned runs allowed in 57 2/3 innings this season (raising his earned-run average from 0.74 to 0.94). "He was his old dominant self, even though he was a little flat with his arm angle."

The OCC offense, which had outscored teams, 23-2, in two previous games, including a 12-1 win at Cypress on Tuesday, was anything but flat early against substitute starter Jaret Vermillion. OCC sophomore center fielder Cody Bruder opened the game with a triple into the right-field corner and scored on a sacrifice fly by freshman second baseman L. Grant Davis.

Sophomore shortstop Cody Nulph followed with a single, moved to second when sophomore first baseman Chris Iriart was hit by a pitch, and both moved up one base on a wild pitch. Sophomore right fielder Tommy Bell then lifted a sacrifice fly to right to plate Nulph and stake Hill to a 2-0 cushion.

After back-to-back doubles to start the Cypress second halved the deficit, OCC loaded the bases with no outs in the second. But Cypress reliever Matt Esparza, who worked four shutout innings to get the win in the aforementioned 13-inning game, recorded a strikeout and a 4-6-3 double play to escape the threat unscathed.

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