The Pirate baseball team battled back from an early 7-0 deficit, only to fall to visiting Cuesta 15-7 Thursday afternoon at Pirate Park. Gabe Baldovino had a pair of hits with two runs batted in and a run scored for the Pirates (5-7, 0-2) an Hunter Klingelhoffer scored twice with a hit and a walk. Ventura used seven pitchers in the game with Anthony Betancourt and Jacob Martinez throwing scoreless frames.
The game got off to an inauspicious start for the Pirates as they gave up a triple and double to lead off the game. Two outs later the Cougars also hit a single and VC trailed 2-0 after a half inning of play. Cuesta followed with five runs in the second inning to go ahead 7-0.
Ventura battled back, however, with their own five-run second inning. Klingelhoffer led off with a walk, and one out later, Anthony Chavez singled. After the second out of the inning, Riley Hooper singled and advanced to second base on an error, batting in two runs. Hooper then stole third base and scored on an error to make it 7-3. Tommy Gibbons-Matsuyama continued the rally with a single, and he stole second and moved to third on a throwing error. Jacob Martinez drew a base on balls and also stole second before Baldovino had a two-RBI single to make it 7-5.
The momentum was short-lived for Ventura as Cuesta scored three runs in the fourth and sixth innings, and a single run in the fifth to take a 14-5 lead.
In the seventh, Baldovino led off with a single and Riley Langerman walked. Klingelhoffer then reached on a fielder's choice, and Baldovino came around to score on an error at second base.
After a Cuesta run in the eighth, the Pirates scored one more time in the bottom of the ninth. Klingelhoffer had a one-out single and Alejandro Soto followed with another single. Chavez was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Adrian Sandoval hit a pinch-hit sacrifice fly to score Klingelhoffer. Ventura fell by a final count of 15-7.
VC finishes the three-game set with the Cougars on Saturday Feb. 22 in San Luis Obispo. The Pirates return home on Tuesday Feb. 25 to face Oxnard.