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Pirates get by Dons

Delaney's big hit, defensive play help OCC prevail and Hill climb to 7-0.

March 25, 2014|By Barry Faulkner

SANTA ANA — Orange Coast College hitters banged the ball all around, even out of the yard at Santa Ana College on Tuesday. But the difference in the Pirates' crucial 5-4 Orange Empire Conference baseball triumph came down to a distance barely beyond a bunt.

The Pirates took a 4-3 lead in the fifth inning when Tommy Bell scored from third on an overthrow back to the pitcher from Dons catcher Cory Bistline with the bases loaded and two outs.

With OCC ahead, 5-4, in the bottom of the eighth inning, Pirates catcher Daniel Delaney chased down a pitch that popped out of his glove and made a 25-foot flip to pitcher Dominic Purpura at the plate. Purpura tagged out Cameron Baranek, who was running from second on the pitch and tried to score on the play.

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Delaney was among OCC's bangers, belting a pair of doubles on his way to a three-for-five day that led the Pirates' 13-hit attack. Delaney's double with two outs in the seventh plated Cody Nulph, who had singled to lead off the inning, for what amounted to the game-winning run.

Eight Pirates had hits and three two-out hits drove in runs for the winners (19-6, 7-4 in conference), ranked No. 1 in Southern California. The win lifted OCC into a tie with the No. 6-ranked Dons (16-8, 7-4) for third place, one-half game behind Saddleback and Fullerton (both 7-3 in conference after their game Tuesday was postponed after one inning).

OCC starting pitcher Jacob Hill improved to 7-0, despite battling sub-par stuff and allowing nine hits and three earned runs in six innings. Purpura retired the final four Dons in order to pocket his first save.

"It was a huge win and it's two out of three [against Santa Ana], which is what you have to do down the stretch," said OCC Coach John Altobelli, who noted his team was on the right side of both aforementioned short throws from the two teams' catchers.

"[Bistline's error] is going to happen about once every three years," Altobelli said. "But when it does, you better be ready for it and [Bell] was ready for it.

"On the play at the plate [Delaney's flip to nail Baranek], we all thought it was a foul tip when it first happened. Then, all of a sudden the guy gets thrown out at the plate and we kept our mouths shut [about the perceived foul tip, which would have created a dead ball and nullified the out]. That was huge, obviously."

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