Gauchos make the Pirates walk the plank as Saddleback defeats OCC 8-1

Tanner Brubaker in the stretch as pitches 9 innings striking 8 batters out. Courtesy of Cain Hernandez

Tanner Brubaker pitched nine innings, striking out eight batters, giving the Saddleback College Gauchos the victory 8-1 against the Orange Coast College Pirates at home on April 3, 2018. (Cain Hernandez)

Tanner Brubaker pitches complete game in another dominant performance

The Saddleback Gauchos opened up a three-game series at Doug Fritz Field with an 8-1 victory over the Orange Coast College Pirates. On the bump for Saddleback, was their ace Tanner Brubaker. He tossed a complete game to push the Gauchos to victory and improve to 22-7 on the season.

In the third inning, OCC center fielder Landon Silver took Brubaker deep and sent a solo shot over the left field fence. It was the only run the Pirates scored against Saddleback.

“He hit it pretty well. I kind of knew,” Brubaker said. “I watched it go out obviously, but I knew it was going to be gone,” said Brubaker.

He shrugged off the mistake and went right back to work against the Pirates.

Orange Coast put some pressure on Brubaker but it did not rattle him. He got out of some jams with the help of the guys around him. Saddleback’s defense was in sync as they executed three double plays to set down the Pirates.

“That was huge,” said Brubaker. “I wouldn’t have gone nine innings if I didn’t have those. So hats off to the defense.”

Brubaker ended the game giving up nine hits, but struck out eight batters to improve to 8-2 in the season.

The Saddleback offense was right behind their starting pitcher, collecting 12 hits and scoring eight runs to notch another win in conference play. In the bottom of the third inning, left fielder Brett O’Toole put the Gauchos back on top, as he singled up the middle to send shortstop Mike Jarvis home to put Saddleback up 2-1.

“We were just trying to put some runs up on the board,” said Brett O’Toole. “Brubaker always pitches well for us so as long as we get a couple runs, we’ll have a pretty good game.”

Saddleback put points on the board in four consecutive innings. After runs came home in the third and fourth inning, O’Toole singled again which brought up designated hitter Connor Glenn. The power-hitting lefty hammered the ball deep to right field for a two run homerun to add to the Gauchos’ lead.

The Gauchos expanded their lead in the sixth inning. Jarvis was hit by a pitch to put another Gaucho on base.

A throwing error on a routine ground ball by OCC shortstop Murphy Stehly allowed Jarvis to go to second, and catcher Brett Auerbach to be safe at first. Stehly’s error set up first baseman Willie Lajoie single to left field and send Jarvis home to increase the lead 7-1.
Each time the Gauchos step onto the diamond, their expectation is to win and keep improving as a team.

“That’s the mindset,” O’Toole said. “You just want to play your own game. You don’t want to worry about what the other team does. You just got to stay within yourself and try and get your job done.”

Saddleback’s head coach Sommer McCartney was proud of the way his team performed but knows there is still plenty of work to be done.

“We need to beat Coast and all the teams in our conference,” said McCartney. “It’s a good conference. We have to play good catch and play better defense and we did. We did that today and had a great game. This is a pretty tough group to beat.”

The second game of the series will be played tomorrow April 5 at Orange Coast College as the Gauchos seek to be conference champions.