Baseball team at it again, rallies big to win playoff game

Baseball team at it again, rallies big to win playoff game

Irvine Valley's baseball team is off to a California Community College Athletic Association regional in Oxnard after rallying for a 16-6 win in a single elimination playoff play-in game on Tuesday.

Irvine Valley, seeded 17th, trailed, 6-0, heading into top of the seventh inning against No. 16 Los Angeles Mission.

The Lasers scored two runs in the top of the seventh on a two-run home run by freshman catcher Branden Williams to get on the board and then exploded for 10 runs in the top of the eighth inning to go ahead, 12-6, and take control.

Freshman center fielder Dillon Millar doubled in sophomore right fielder Brett Hamilton to get the eighth inning run barrage started for IVC.

Freshman shortstop Jordan Gillerman then singled to score freshman first baseman Lucas Tancas.

A single by Williams brought in Millar and made it a 6-5 game.

Freshman left fielder Clint Jack's RBI single to center tied the game at 6-6. And with the bases still loaded, freshman designated hitter Robbie Espinosa was hit by a pitch to bring in the go-ahead run.

IVC extended its lead to 8-6 as Tancas hit an RBI infield single.

An RBI single by Millar scored Jack and gave Irvine Valley a 9-6 lead. Freshman second baseman Cory Mendoza hit a two-run single to put IVC up, 11-6.

And Gillerman capped the Laser scoring with a run-scoring single to center.

IVC sent 15 batters to the plate in the inning and finished with 11 hits. The Lasers scored their last five runs with two outs.

Irvine Valley tacked on four more runs in the top of the ninth inning for good measure and then closed out LA Mission in the bottom of the inning for the win.

Hamilton had an RBI single, Tancas hit a two-run homer and Mendoza hit an infield single to bring in a run in the top of the ninth.

IVC sophomore ace pitcher Justin Zielinski earned the win. Making his first relief appearance of the season, Zielinski pitched 5.2 innings and gave up two runs (one earned) on 10 hits and one walk with one strikeout. He improved his record to 8-2 on the season.

Zielinski came on in relief of freshman Ryan Abady, who pitched the first 3.2 innings and gave up four runs (three earned) on seven hits and two walks with one strikeout.

It was the second straight game where IVC has come from way behind to win. The Lasers trailed, 6-0, at Santa Ana last Thursday in the regular season and Orange Empire Conference finale, but scored seven runs in the eighth inning and then held on for a 7-6 victory.

The 16 runs on Tuesday at Mission was the most Irvine Valley has scored in a game this season. The previous high for runs came in the season-opener on Jan. 27 when Irvine Valley beat Imperial Valley, 12-0.

The 20 hits was also a season best for IVC.

Gillerman was 4 for 6 with a double and two RBI, Tancas went 3 for 6 with a home run and three RBI, Mendoza went 3 for 6 with three RBI, Millar was 3 for 6 with a double and two RBI, Hamilton went 2 for 6 with one RBI, sophomore third baseman Zach Vittetow was 2 for 3 and Jack was 1 for 3 with three walks and one RBI.

The win vaulted Irvine Valley's record to 21-16 overall and kept the team's season alive.

Irvine Valley moves on to face No. 2 Oxnard in a best of three-game regional starting on Friday in Oxnard.

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