Irvine Valley's baseball team suffered another hard-luck loss with a 4-3 defeat at Golden West on Tuesday in the first game of an Orange Empire Conference series with the Rustlers.
Ezele Wicks laced a game-winning RBI-single to left with two out in the bottom of the ninth inning to lead the Golden West to the win.
Irvine Valley's record slipped to 11-10 overall and 1-3 in conference.
After Irvine Valley took a 3-0 lead in the top of the seventh inning, the Rustlers (11-8, 2-2) scored a pair of runs in the seventh inning and Wicks' RBI-single with the bases loaded capped a two-run in the bottom of the last frame victory for Golden West.
It was a pitching duel between Irvine Valley freshman hurler Nick Janowicz and Golden West's Troy Bethel.
Bethel didn't allow a hit until the fifth inning and then IVC got to him finally in the seventh inning.
Irvine Valley freshman third baseman David Rojas drove in two runs with a single in the seventh inning. And then freshman center fielder Ben McConnell followed with an RBI hit to give Irvine Valley a 3-0 lead.
Golden West came back with two runs in the bottom of the seventh on an RBI single by Nelson Padilla and then an RBI triple by Josue Lopez to make it 3-2.
It stayed that way until the bottom of the ninth when Jeremiah Vison was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to bring in a run and then Wicks came through with his hit.
Wicks went 2 for 3 at the plate with an RBI, a run scored and two walks. Lopez went 2 for 2 with a triple and an RBI and Padilla went 1 for 4 with a run scored and an RBI.
Jesse Meyer pitched two innings to earn the victory for the Rustlers. The freshman allowed one hit and struck out three batters.
Janowicz pitched 7.2 innings and gave up two runs on five hits and one walk with five strikeouts. He had no decision.
Freshman reliever Noah Bradford took the loss. He pitched 2/3 of an inning and gave up two runs on two hits and two walks. He also hit two batters.
At the plate, IVC had seven hits in the contest. Rojas went 3 for 4 with two RBI, McConnell was 1 for 4 with one RBI and a stolen base and sophomore left fielder Wyatt McGinnis was 1 for 3 with a run scored and a walk.
Irvine Valley hosts Golden West in the second game of the series on Thursday at 2 p.m.