It takes 27 outs to complete a baseball game. Fortunately, the Pirates only used 26 before rallying for five runs in the top of the ninth inning to post an 8-5 come-from-behind season-opening victory at Mt. San Jacinto Friday. Hunter Klingelhoffer had a pair of hits with a run batted in, scoring the go-ahead run on a wild pitch. Mitchell Mashiko was 4-5 at the plate with two RBI and a run scored while Adrian Sandoval and Elijah Maris each scored twice. JuanCarlos Rodarte picked up the win in relief and Arman Muradian pitched the bottom of the ninth for the save.
Travis Nelson started on the mound for Ventura (1-0), pitching three scoreless innings before running into trouble in the fourth. MSJC plated four runs in the frame to take the lead n the Pirates.
Maris reached base on an error to open the fifth for Ventura, and one out later scored on Mashiko's single, compounded by an Eagle error. Three straight walks drawn by Gabe Baldovino, Tommy Gibbons-Matsuyama and Riley Langerman forced Maris home and the Pirates cut the deficit to 4-2. at the midway point. Mt. San Jacinto came back with a run in the sixth inning for a 5-2 lead.
With two outs in the top of the seventh, Sandoval singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Riley Hooper followed with an infield hit to the shortstop, and Klingelhoffer singled home a run to make it 5-3.
The Pirates came to bat in the top of the ninth trailing by two runs. Gibbons-Matsuyama led off with a double to left field, and one out later Sandoval walked. Another walk followed and VC was down to its last out. Klingelhoffer singled to load the bases. A wild pitch later, the runners all moved up two bases with two runs scoring to tie the game at 5-5. Maris then walked, followed by a single by pinch hitter Travis Vaala. Klingelhoffer scored the go-ahead run from third, and an error in the outfield allowed Maris to score from first. Vaala advanced to third on the play and scored on Mashiko's single for an 8-5 Pirate advantage.
Muradian relieved Rodarte, who had pitched a scoreless eighth inning, and promptly recorded three outs in four batters, saving the VC win.
Ventura remains in the Inland Empire, playing at College of the Desert in Palm Desert on Saturday Jan. 25 with first pitch scheduled for 12:00 noon. VC returns to Pirate Park for their home opener on Tuesday Jan. 28, taking on Santa Ana at 2:00 pm.