Second baseman Mike Lujan saved two runs with his glove, then scored the winning run in the ninth inning Saturday as Orange Coast College defeated Oxnard, 4-3, in a Southern California regional baseball game at Orange Coast.
OCC (32-11) needs to win one more game to gain a berth in the state tournament next weekend at San Jose. The teams will play at OCC at 11 a.m. today, and a second game will follow if needed.
With a runner on second and Oxnard leading, 3-1, in the eighth, Phil White hit a line drive that appeared headed to right field, but Lujan reached to his left to catch the ball for the third out.
OCC tied the score in the bottom half of the eighth, and Lujan saved another run in the ninth. He ranged far to his left and made a diving catch of a fly ball hit by George Spencer with two out and a runner on third.
"I was just playing him that way and ran and caught it," Lujan said. "All I was thinking was that if it falls, then the run scores."
Lujan, a sophomore from Estancia High School, led off the ninth with a single to center, and after J.J. Culpepper struck out, moved to second when Rex Peters walked. Ralph Ramirez doubled off the glove of right-fielder Spencer to score Lujan with the winning run.
"I was just thinking clutch up all the way," Ramirez said about his last at-bat. "I felt I had his (Sean Harrigan's) number by then."
Ramirez opened the eighth by grounding a single to left and continued to second when left-fielder Javiar Alcarez bobbled the ball. The throw appeared in plenty of time, but Ramirez slid safely to the outside of second base.
Harrigan (11-2) struck out Joey James, but Dave Staton singled down the left-field line to score Ramirez and cut the lead to 3-2. Brent Mayne singled Staton to second, and Mike Misuraca singled Staton home to tie the score. The OCC rally ended when Mayne was tagged out at third after the throw to the plate was cut by third baseman Johny Brasher.
Dave Dawson (4-3) relieved starter Jim Foley in the fourth and worked the final 5 innings to get the victory.