Ortega, Porterville College hold off West Hills Coalinga

Ortega, Porterville College hold off West Hills Coalinga

The Porterville College baseball bats have come alive.

Porterville's 5-4 win over West Hills Coalinga Saturday afternoon at PC was its second in a row, and the Pirates again collected double-digit hits.

West Hills Coalinga gave up 17 hits to the Pirates in a 14-0 loss on Thursday; both numbers were season highs for Porterville. The Pirates ended this series having taken two of three from the Falcons.

It was also the second game in a row Porterville got a complete game start from its starting pitcher. Edgar Reyes only gave up five hits on Thursday in nine innings, and Gilbert Ortega, a right-hander, allowed four hits on Saturday.

"I felt like I was in control the whole time," Ortega said. "Even when they scored three I felt like I had full command of my pitches."

He said he thought the command of his fastball was excellent, and his splitter and changeup worked very well. His curveball was off in the beginning of the game, but it improved.

"Gil obviously came ready to play," head coach Ben Walkowiak said. "When you get back to back complete games out of your top two sophomores, those are the kinds of outings we need out of guys like that."

Ortega had only three strikeouts, but fly balls usually found a glove for outs.

Coalinga actually scored first, putting up three of its four runs in the third inning.

Porterville had several baserunners in the third inning, but due to bad baserunning nothing came of it.

The Pirates got on the scoreboard in the fifth inning when sophomore shortstop Pedro Aguirre grounded out but brought home a run. Nickolaus Haskins later swung at the second pitch he saw and drove it to center field, good for an RBI single to pull Porterville to within 3-2.

With the bases loaded in the sixth inning thanks to two walks, Haskins again smacked a single and safely got on base with two outs, thus tying the game at 3-3. Freshman Brandon Lozano then got the biggest hit of the game, an opposite-field single which drove in two runs with two outs to give Porterville a 5-3 lead.

The situation became a little bit uncomfortable in the eighth inning when Falcons first baseman Evan Walter crushed a solo home run off of Ortega to pull his team to within 5-4. It was Walter's seventh home run of the season, and it was a towering shot over the right field fence, helped along by the wind.

"That was a legit home run," head coach Ben Walkowiak said. "If he does that with nobody on base, I'm OK with it."

The Falcons got a runner on base in the ninth inning via a walk from Ortega, but he did not advance past second base after two flyouts to end the game.

Vance Lopez led the Pirates with four hits throughout the game, a couple of which he had to reach with the bat to get contact.

"I got lucky on one of them to right field," he said. "I threw my hands at it and it made it out there."

Aguirre had two RBIs on the day, along with his usually solid work at shortstop. He said the reason Porterville won was the desire to get the feeling of winning again.

"I think just the fact we came out here wanting to win again," he said.

Porterville improved to 9-18 overall and 5-10 in Central Valley Conference play. Up next is a road matchup with College of the Sequoias on Tuesday at 2 p.m.

The clash with COS, and future dates with the top teams in the CVC, represents a chance to ruin postseason hopes for other clubs.

"For the majority of these games in conference we'll play spoiler," Aguirre said. "These top teams we'll see at least one more time and spoil it for whoever we can."