The Westcliff University baseball team made it six straight wins Sunday at the OC Great Park in Irvine, and they did it in thrilling walk-off fashion.
A back-and-forth affair had left the score knotted at four heading into the bottom of the ninth when Warriors 2B PJ Gordon rocketed a line drive deep into the gap in left-center for a lead-off double.
Two walks and a pop-fly later, 3B Ray Moore Jr. stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and bombed a sacrifice fly to deep center, scoring Gordon for the 5-4 win over La Sierra.
The Warriors mobbed both Moore and Gordon on the infield grass, and the party was on.
“Tight ballgame going into the ninth, I’m just trying to find a way on and hit the ball hard,” Gordon said. “Most of the time, if you hit the ball hard, you find a way on. I just tried to put the bat on the ball, and it worked out.”
Although he didn’t get the victory, Warriors starter Frankie Villasenor was fantastic for the home club, giving up just three earned through seven innings of work.
Villasenor collected seven strikeouts and walked just two along the way.
“Frankie Villasenor has as much heart as anybody,” Westcliff manager David Shermet said. “He will stay out there all day long and battle. He’s a battler, he will not give in. He’s got great fire.”
Moore finished with three RBIs, including a pair he drove home on a double during the Warriors’ four-run third. Adam Rossit (2-for-4) and Trey Harmon drove in the other two runs as Westliff raced out to a 4-1 advantage early.
La Sierra chipped away with solo homeruns fourth and seventh, before tying it up in the eighth.
“That’s a good team over there,” Shermet said of La Sierra. “They fight hard, they play great defense. Fortunately for us, we were able to get one across in the ninth and win a tough game.”
Shermet talked to Gordon prior to his leadoff double in the ninth, and relayed the message, “No more fly balls.”
After getting ahead in the count, Gordon drilled a 1-0 fastball and the Warriors dugout erupted.
“He is the consummate No. 2 hitter,” Shermet said of Gordon. “He handles the bat well. He can crush the ball if you need it. He can bunt. He does it all, so that’s why we have in the two spot.”
The Warriors’ sixth straight win stood as a testament to the gritty, never-say-die nature of the ballclub.
“We’re a battling team, and we’re going to have to scrap, and claw, and fight, and dig in the dirt for everything we get,” Shermet said. “We can’t take an inning off, we can’t take a moment off, we can’t take a pitch off.”
Michael Hascup (1-0) tossed a pair of nice innings to close out the game and get the win.
Jacob Sanchez reached base in all four of his at-bats, going 2-for-2 with a pair of walks.
Westcliff hosts Bethesda at the OC Great Park Friday.
To contact Brandon Petersen, email firstname.lastname@example.org.