With its 9-5 Orange Empire Conference loss at Golden West on Tuesday, the Irvine Valley baseball team is facing a must win situation on Thursday if it wants to keep its season alive.
The Lasers need a victory if they want to have a shot of moving on to the Southern California Regional Playoffs.
Tuesday's defeat dropped Irvine Valley's record to 18-17 overall and 8-12 in conference. The Lasers are currently tied for fifth place in the standings with Fullerton.
Each team is one game back of Cypress for fourth place. Depending on the final standings and tiebreakers involved, four teams - with a possibility of five - are expected to make the postseason from the conference.
Irvine Valley fell behind early on Tuesday at Golden West and just couldn't catch up. Golden West scored three runs in the first inning and three more in the second inning to jump out to a 6-0 lead against Irvine Valley starting pitcher Cody Fitzgerald.
Irvine Valley came back with two runs in the top of the third, getting a two-run double from freshman third baseman Sean Guite. And the Lasers got back into the game in the top of the eighth with two more runs to make it a 7-5 game.
Guite had an RBI triple and freshman Josh Lesinski brought in a run with a sacrifice. But Golden West put the game away in the bottom of the eighth with two runs off IVC sophomore Austin Alva on no hits.
Two walks, two hit batters and a fielder's choice brought in the runs. Fitzgerald took the loss, going 1 2/3 innings. He gave up six runs (four earned) on seven hits and one hit batter with three strikeouts.
Freshman Bryan Castelli did a solid job in relief of Fitzgerald to keep IVC in the game. Castelli pitched four innings and allowed one run on four hits and a walk with four strikeouts.
The Lasers were led at the plate by Guite, who went 3 for 4 with three RBI, freshman center fielder Bryce Hara, who was 2 for 4 with two runs scored and freshman left fielder Cody Inglis and sophomore catcher Anthony Almeida, who each had two hits.
For Golden West, Blake Cooper was 2 for 3 with two RBI and Alex Hernandez went 3 for 5. Cody Morad earned the win to improve his record to 4-1 on the season. He went 7 1/3 innings and allowed all five runs. Irvine Valley hosts Golden West on Thursday at 2 p.m.