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image c/o JP Westerbeck
image c/o JP Westerbeck

Davinni leads the charge as Cats win slugfest

The Saddleback baseball team improved to 18-4 overall with a 16-11 win over Orange Coast College on Monday at Doug Fritz Field.  Michael Davinni led the Bobcats with five hits in the game.

Saddleback and Orange Coast moved the game up a day to avoid the rain expected in the area on Tuesday.  Both offenses looked ready, combining for 27 runs and 27 hits.

Orange Coast struck for four runs in the top half of the second inning, taking advantage of a pair of walks, a hit batter, a passed ball and an error.  The Bobcats responded with five runs in the bottom half of the inning when they sent nine batters to the plate and rapped out five hits to go along with a walk and grabbing the lead at 5-4. 

Both offenses went crazy in a third inning that took close to 45 minutes.  Orange Coast scored seven times in the top half of the third inning, all with two outs.  The Bobcats committed a costly error in the inning, leading to six unearned runs.  The Pirates capped off the inning when Jaden Lyburtus hit a towering home run to center field for an 11-5 advantage.

Saddleback responded, scoring seven runs of their own in the bottom half of the third inning.  The Bobcats had seven hits in the inning in grabbing back the lead.  The first five batters reached base before Orange Coast decided to go to the bullpen.  Following the change, Saddleback again had three straight hits when Michael Davinni singled home J.C. Allen and Zachary Schwartzberg, Isaiah Morales tripled home Davinni and Jason Hefft singled home Morales for a 12-11 lead.

Saddleback then went to the bullpen and brought in Trevor Eby, who quickly silenced the Orange Coast bats.  Eby pitched four scoreless innings, striking out four Pirates while surrendering just one hit to pick up the win.  The Bobcats then went with Blake Butcher and Nathan Helman to finish off the game.

Saddleback added a run in the bottom half of the fifth inning when Davinni put a ball off the scoreboard for a 13-11 advantage.  It was Davinni's third home run of the season and traveled an estimated 382 feet.

Davinni (pictured) wasn't through, picking up his fourth hit in the seventh inning when the Bobcats scored three more times to increase the lead to 16-11.  He would pick up his fifth hit of the game in the bottom half of the eighth inning in a scary moment when he hit a ball right up the middle that caromed off of the pitcher.  The pitcher would eventually leave the game on his own powers, to a standing ovation from the crowd.

Saddleback is now 18-4 overall and 6-1 in Orange Empire Conference play following the win.  The Bobcats are a half game behind Riverside City College in the standings, who was idle on Monday. 

Saddleback and Orange Coast will resume the series at Orange Coast College on Thursday at 2:00 PM.