Irvine Valley's baseball team won its second Orange Empire Conference series of the season, taking two of three games against district rival Saddleback.The Lasers capped the three-game series with a 4-3 win in 12 innings over the Gauchos at Saddleback on Saturday.
The win improved Irvine Valley's record to 17-12 overall and 5-7 in conference. The victory also moved IVC into a tie for fifth place in the conference standings with Saddleback (17-11, 5-7) and Cypress. IVC sits a game back of Santa Ana for fourth place.
Irvine Valley took the lead in the top of the 12th inning on a heads up baserunning play by freshman third baseman Ryan Rafferty. After freshman left fielder Zack Stack hit a two-out single to shortstop, Rafferty never hesitated on the play and scored from second base. Rafferty had doubled with one out earlier in the inning.
Freshman reliever Eric Brunst picked up his first win of the year (1-2). He threw four shutout innings. Brunst gave up three three hits and two walks and had one strikeout.
Brunst came in for sophomore starting pitcher John Stevens, who went eight innings, giving up three runs on six hits and two walks with one strikeout.
IVC's defense backed the two pitchers with a solid performance, committing no errors in the 12 innings.
On offense, each team finished with nine hits. Rafferty was 2 for 6 with two doubles and one run scored, Stack went 2 for 5 with a run scored and one RBI and freshman second baseman Colin Conroy was 1 for 5 with a double and two RBI.
Conroy doubled to right center to bring in two runs and tie the game at 3-3 in the top of the fourth inning. It stayed that way until the 12th.
Irvine Valley plays again on Tuesday, traveling to Cypress for another conference series.