The Pirate baseball team trailed by four runs at one point and five runs at another, but in the end they claimed a four-run victory, 16-12 against Oxnard Saturday at Pirate Park. The teams combined for 28 runs and 31 hits in the 3-hour, 40-minute game on a picture perfect day in Ventura. Rudy Aguilar belted out four hits, including a double, scored two runs and knocked in three runs while AJ Medrano had a pair of hits, including a home run, with two runs scored and three RBI for the VC (16-15, 6-5).
The wild day started when the Condors scored four runs in the top of the first, three after a Pirate error.
Ventura was unfazed, however, coming back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first. Steele Ledford led off with a walk, and one out later, Aguilar singled. After another out, Shane Gipson delivered with a clutch double to clear the bases and bring Ventura back to within 4-2.
Oxnard scored one run in the top of the second inning ro a 5-3 advantage. Then, in the bottom half of the frame, the Pirates scored three times to tie the score. Medrano led off with a home run off the left field netting, then Eric Thrower and TJ Foreman had back-to-back singles. One out later, Dayton Provost walked to load the bases and Aguilar delivered a two-RBI single for a 5-5 score.
OC then scored once in the third and four times in the fourth to move ahead 10-5.
In the bottom of the fourth, however, the Pirates answered with a five-run inning. Ledford walked and Provost singled before Aguilar had a run-scoring double. Sam Langler followed with a walk to load the bases. After pop-out, Jacob Valdez walked in a run, the Medrano hit a sacrifice fly to left field. Thrower was hit by a pitch to re-load the diamond, and Foreman was hit by a pitch to score Langler. Valdez then scored on a wild pitch and the score was tied at 10-10.
The Condors answered with two more runs in the top of the fifth to take a 12-10 lead, and after VC pitcher Jared Gray silenced the Oxnard bats in the top of the sixth, VC was poised for another comeback.
With one out in the bottom of the sixth, Medrano, Thrower and Foreman all singled to load the bases, then Ledford hit a single, scoring two runs. An error on the play then allowed a third run to score as Ledford advanced to third base. The Pirates ended the inning with their first lead of the day, 13-12.
The Pirates got three insurance runs in the seventh inning. Langler doubled to lead things off and Gipson walked. JT Heade singled to load the bases, and Medrano drew a walk to score a run. After pitching change, Thrower hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield, and another out later, Ledford had an RBI single for the 16-12 final margin.
Offensively, Ledford was 2-4 in the game with two runs scored and three runs batted in and Thrower recorded a pair of hits with double while scoring twice with one RBI. Foreman was also 2-4 with two runs scored an an RBI while Langler came off the bench to record a double and score twice.
Gray came out of the bullpen to silence the Oxnard bats for th victory and Sal Delgado pitched three scoreless innings for his fifth save of the season.
The Pirates are now tied with Moorpark and Santa barbara atop the Western State Conference North Division at 6-5, jus a half game ahead of Hancock and Cuesta in the tightly-bunched race. Oxnard fell two games off the pace.
Ventura returns to the diamond on Tuesday April 10 at Moorpark before completing the season series against the Riaders at home on Thursday April 12. Both games are set to begin at 2:30 pm.