The Pirate baseball team held a 4-3 lead with six outs remaining, but fell victim to a pair of late-inning rallies by the Wildcats in VC's 7-6 defeat at West Los Angeles College in Culver City on Thursday. Ventura (4-5) answered two West LA runs in the eighth with a pair of runs in the top of the ninth, only to see the Wildcats walk off with two runs in the bottom half of the frame. Tommy Gibbons-Matsuyama was 3-3 on the day with a double and a run scored while Omar Gastelum had two hits, including a triple, with two runs scored and two runs batted in.
The Pirates took the early lead when Gibbons-Matsuyama doubled to lead off the game and Riley Langerman singled him home one out later. VC led 1-0 after the first half inning of play.
The Wildcats scores a pair of runs in the bottom of the third to take the upper hand before Ventura answered with three runs in the top of the fourth. Lenny Perralta led off with a single, then Gastelum had an RBI triple to right field. Hunter Klingelhoffer followed with an RBI single, stealing second, then third, ultimately coming home on a passed ball. VC led 4-2 after the half-inning, and still held a 4-3 advantage after West LA scored once in the bottom half of the inning.
The score remained until WLAC plated two runs in the bottom of the eighth to take a 5-4 lead.
The Pirates had an answer in the top of the ninth, retaking the lead. With one out, Jacob Martinez singled and went to second on a passed ball. Gastelum drew a walk, and Martinez scored on an error by the catcher on the play. Klingelhoffer was hit by a pitch, then he and Gastelum executed a double steal to put two runners in scoring position. Alejandro Soto then grounded out 5-3 and Gastelum scored to put Ventura ahead 6-5.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Pirates found it difficult to throw strikes. VC walked the bases loaded, then a hit batsman and a single scored a pair of runs as West LA walked off with the win.
VC returns home on Saturday Feb. 15, hosting College of the Canyons at 1:00 pm at Pirate Park.