It was opening day at Pirate Park Friday as the VC baseball team, ranked No. 15 in Southern California, opened the 2022 season hosting NorCal No. 3 San Joaquin Delta. Ventura battled throughout, dropping a close 8-6 decision to the Mustangs to open the three-game set. JR Godinez had a pair of hits, including a triple, with three runs batted in and Reiss Calvin recorded four base hits with a run scored to pace the Pirates (0-1) in their debut.
The Mustangs got on the board in the top of the second inning as Ventura starter Max Flame yielded a pair of runs.
The Pirates bounced back in the bottom half of the column with a score to cut the deficit in half. Garrick Levesque walked and Gage Allen singled him into scoring position before Ramon Torres knocked in the first run of the season.
Delta then plated single runs in the third and fourth frames to push their advantage to 4-1.
The Pirates had a two-out rally in the bottom of the fifth to score a pair of runs. KJ Moo-Young and Calvin put together back-to-back singles, then Godinez knocked them both in with a two-out triple.
San Joaquin Delta took control of the game with a two-run seventh inning, and another score in the eighth, but the Pirates continued the fight.
The Mustangs scored an insurance run in the top of the ninth, and VC's comeback fell short in their last at-bat. Godinez singled home Moo-Young to make it 8-6, and the Pirates loaded the bases before flying out to end the game.
The two teams will battle again on Saturday Jan. 29 beginning at 12:00 pm before closing the series on Sunday Jan. 30, also with a noon start.