March 09--Austin Kamel may be the Oxnard College baseball team's No. 3 starter.
That doesn't mean the sophomore left-hander from Oaks Christian School pitches like it.
Kamel scattered seven base runners in 8.2 strong innings as the No. 6-ranked Condors opened 3-0 in the Western State Conference play with a 3-1 win over visiting Ventura on Saturday afternoon at the Condors' Nest.
"We had no answer for Kamel," Ventura coach Don Adams said. "He didn't give us a sniff today."
Kamel started slowly, throwing away a pickoff play in the top of the first for the lone VC run. He didn't finish the game, yielding to closer Blake Redman for a one-out save when the Pirates put the tying run on first base in the bottom of the night.
In between, Kamel was masterful, putting seven straight zeroes on the scoreboard and retiring 15 straight VC batters in the meat of a one-run game.
"I felt that I was hitting my spots well," Kamel said. "I felt I was more accurate as the game progressed."
Kamel's performance overshadowed an excellent start from VC's No. 3 starter, Logen Letofsky, who kept the Pirates in the game by allowing just three runs, six hits and three walks in 6.2 innings.
Ventura took the lead in the top of the first when Tim Ginther hit a one-out single, moved to second and scored when Kamel bounced a pickoff attempt as he stole third.
The Condors needed just two batters to take the lead. As Jake Mavropoulos followed Dustyn Cook's leadoff single with a two-run home run to left-center field in the bottom of the first.
"That was nice to have the wind blowing out on a left-hand hitter because, otherwise, you're not hitting it out of here," Oxnard coach Jon Larson said.
From there, Kamel and Letofsky combined throw 11 straight scoreless innings, with the help of defensive gems by Ventura shortstop Michael Volaski, Oxnard third baseman Daniel Barnett and Oxnard shortstop Ryan Webberly.
Webberly also handed Kamel an insurance run with an RBI single in the bottom of the seventh.
VC threatened in the ninth when Ginther reached on an infield hit to end Kamel's streak of 15 straight outs and Harrison Crawford followed with a single to right field to chase Kamel.
But Redman induced a game-ending force play to give Oxnard (13-2, 3-0) its 12th win in 13 games and send Ventura (4-11, 0-3) to its ninth straight loss.
And things won't get any easier for the Pirates on Tuesday, when Oxnard ace Luke Eubank takes the mound in Ventura.
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