Good teams find a way to win, or not to lose. That is what the Pirate baseball team did on Tuesday, using a six-run fifth and what turned out to be an insurance run in the ninth to build an 8-1 lead before giving up six runs, five unearned, in the bottom of the frame, then recording the 27th out of the game. Travis Weston pitched into the ninth inning, scattering eight hits and giving up three runs to pick up the win while Gabe Baldovino had four hits, including two doubles, and scored three runs to pace the offense for Ventura (20-12, 11-5).
After falling behind 1-0 after three innings, the Pirates came back to tie the score with a run in the fourth. Baldovino led off the inning with a double and moved to third base on a wild pitch. He then scored on AJ Medrano's groundout and the game was tied at 1-1.
Ventura broke the game open with a six run fifth inning. Baylor Tovar opened the frame with a single, and one out later Riley Langerman doubled. Hunter Klingelhoffer followed with a walk to load the bases. TJ Foreman then singled to score Tovar and Langerman. After Baldovino singled to reload the diamond, Medrano walked to bring in another run. The Raiders made a pitching change, but to no avail as Zane Chittenden singled and went to second base on an error to bring in two more runs. Junior Sandoval ended the rally with an RBI double and Ventura led 7-1.
With one out in the ninth inning, Baldovino doubled and Medrano singled before Chittenden hit a sacrifice fly to score the eventual game-winning run.
The Pirates sent Weston out to pitch the ninth inning going for a complete game. After a single and a pop out, Weston gave up a double before coming out of the game. The Pirates then gave up another single and had a key error at first base that led to five more runs by the Raiders. Jacob Martinez came in to get the final two outs of the game and preserve the 8-7 VC victory.
Chittenden had a hit and three RBI and Foreman was 2-5 with one run scored and one run batted in. Medrano also had a pair of RBI in the game for Ventura, who moved two games clear of second place Cuesta and Santa Barbara in the conference standings with four games remaining.
Ventura begins a key two-game series with Cuesta on Thursday April 11. The first game of the set is at Pirate Park with first pitch slated for 2:30 pm.