Who knew? After the Pirate baseball team gave up four runs to visiting Moorpark in the first two innings, VC had the Raiders right where they wanted them. Seven innings later, Shane Gipson singled to left field with the bases loaded to score pinch runner Chris McKee as Ventura (17-16, 7-6) walked off with a 6-5 victory over their cross-county rivals. Gipson had two hits and two RBI in the game while Dayton Provost, who led off the bottom of the ninth with a walk, was 2-4 with a run scored and one run batted in.
Things did not look good early as the Pirates yielded two runs in each of the first two innings. Relief pitcher Austin Nicholson came in and settled things down, throwing 2.2 innings of scoreless relief, setting the stage for the comeback.
Ventura got on the board in the bottom of the fourth with a two-out rally. The third batter of the inning, Rudy Aguilar walked, then went to second on a passed ball and to third on a wild pitch. Sam Langler then drew a walk before Gipson singled to score Aguilar. VC trailed 4-1 after four innings of play.
Tommy Jamieson came in to pitch a scoreless top of the fifth for the Pirates. Then Ekolu Watanabe took the mound for three innings, giving up one run in the eighth inning, keeping the Pirates in the game.
In the bottom of the sixth, Provost led things off with a double, then moved to third when Aguilar reached first on an error. Sam Langler then singled home Provost as Aguilar moved to second base. Gipson then sacrificed the runners over, setting up JT Heade's sacrifice fly to right field to score Aguilar. The Pirates trailed 4-3 after six complete.
In the bottom of the seventh, TJ Foreman doubled with one out. A second out later, Provost singled Foreman home and the Pirates tied the score at 4-4.
Moorpark got back on the board in the eighth inning, taking a 5-4 lead, but VC was quick to answer in the bottom of the inning. Fabian De La Barcena led off the inning with a double, followed by a Gipson walk and a single from Jacob Valdez, loading the bases. After a pitching change, the Raiders did induce a strikeout and a line out, but Foreman came through in the clutch, drawing a walk to push De La Barcena across home, tying the score at 5-5 heading to the ninth.
Jeff Thoben came in to pitch a hitless ninth inning, setting the stage for the walk-off for Ventura. Provost led off the bottom of the ninth with a walk, and was replaced at first by pinch runner, McKee, who advanced to second, then third on successive wild pitches by the new Moorpark pitcher. Aguilar and De La Barcena both drew walks to load the bases before Gipson singled to left field for the walk-off 6-5 victory.
Aguilar drew two walks in the game and scored twice and AJ Medrano also had two hits for the Pirates.
With the win, VC moves into a three-way tie for first with the Raiders and Santa Barbara with identical 7-6 conference marks. Cuesta and Allan Hancock are both one-half game behind at 7-7while Oxnard remains within striking distance at 5-8. Each team has seven games remaining in the regular season.
The Pirates continue their key stretch on the schedule on Friday April 13 with a home contest against Santa Barbara. First pitch against the Vaqueros is slated for 2:30 pm at Pirate Park. VC follows that up with a trip to Cuesta on Saturday April 14.
Gipson walk off 1B to left center scoring McKee and the Pirates win 6-5. They return to action tomorrow vs Santa Barbara City at Pirate Park. 2:30 1st Pitch @VCAthletics @vcscolleges pic.twitter.com/lUCTBb3kbz— VC Baseball (@vcpiratebsbl) April 13, 2018