SANTA CLARITA, Calif. – The Santa Ana College Baseball team will advance to the next round of the CCCAA Southern California Regionals after pulling off an upset against #3 ranked College of the Canyons in a best out of three series.
The number #14 ranked Dons got off to an early lead in game one of the series, as Julio Rivera hit a solo shot over the center-field fence in the first inning. After two scoreless innings, the Dons struck again with three runs in the fourth. Santa Ana loaded the bases for Justin Mellano who then drew a walk to bring in one. Soon after, Adam Cendejas came up with a single through the right side to score a couple more for the Dons.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Cougars answered with a run of their own, coming from a home run from Kris Keach to bring the score to 4-1.
Both teams scored one more before the Don's Derek Reilly hit a three-run home in the top of the eighth, extending the lead to 10-2 and essentially sealing the game for the Dons.
College of the Canyons put three on the scoreboard in the bottom of the ninth, but it wasn't enough as Santa Ana took game one by a score of 10-5.
The Dons starting pitcher Guillermo Sanchez went the distance and finished with five strikeouts, five earned runs and two walks to earn his sixth win of the season.
In game two, both offenses cooled down as the game turned into a pitcher's duel between the Don's Nigel Ward and the Cougar's Justin Dehn.
Nigel Ward took the loss but had a solid six-inning outing, striking out six and only allowing two runs on three hits. His counterpart Dehn went nine innings, striking out five Dons with a one run allowed.
The Dons dropped game two by a score of 4-1, allowing the Cougars to tie the series at one a piece.
It was a battle in the winner takes all game three, but the Don's bats came to life late in the game to carry them to a 9-6 win.
SAC found themselves down 3-1 going into the sixth but rallied for three runs in the top of the inning to take the lead 4-3. The Dons capitalized on a Cougar error to score the first run of the inning, then Bryan Leef surprised the defense with a RBI squeeze bunt single for the second run. Justin Mellano earned a RBI by grounding out to second base to bring Nathan Flores for the third run of the inning.
Anthony Lepre of College of the Canyons tied the game in the seventh with a solo home run to right-center field, but the Dons continued their onslaught on offense, scoring five runs in the last two innings to put the game away and win 9-6.
Gabe Armstrong earned the win for the Don's with a seven inning, four strikeout performance to improve to 5-2 this season.
With the series win, the Santa Ana College Baseball team now sits at 28-15 overall this season and will advance to the next round CCCAA Southern California Regionals.