By Robert Nilsen
CYPRESS, CA – The Cypress College baseball team (16-5, 3-2 OEC) came away with a thrilling 9-8 victory over Santa Ana (14-7, 0-5 OEC) at home on Thursday afternoon to take game 2 of their 3 game series. The Chargers entered the game ranked No. 4 in Southern California, while the Dons entered the game ranked No. 2 in Southern California.
Evan Flohr got the start for the Chargers and turned in a solid performance as he allowed just 1 run on 2 hits while striking out 6 batters over 5.2 innings pitched. Evan Fournier (1-0) picked up his first victory of the season as he retired the one batter he faced to end the top of the ninth inning. Pierson Loska (2-for-3, 3 RBI) and Paul Gomez (2-for-4, 2 RBI) led the Chargers offense.
Nigel Ward (4-2) got the start for the Dons and pitched 7 innings while allowing 3 runs on 4 hits and striking out 5 batters. Austin Weddle (2-2) received the loss as he allowed 3 runs on 4 hits while recording just one out in the bottom of the ninth inning.
In a back and forth game the Dons opened the scoring in the fifth inning on an RBI double by Bobby Vasquez to take a 1-0 lead. The Chargers responded in the bottom of the six inning as Loska smashed a 3-run home run to center field to give the Chargers a 3-1 advantage. The Dons pulled one back on a RBI groundout by Vasquez in the top of the seventh inning to narrow the Chargers lead to 3-2.
After a relatively low scoring game the floodgates opened in the bottom of the eighth as the Chargers struck for three more runs to take a 6-2 lead. Logan Swofford (0-for-0, RBI) came off the bench and delivered a sacrifice fly to make it 4-2. Gomez then crushed a 2-run home run to left field to increase the Chargers advantage to 6-2.
Despite trailing by 4 runs the Dons did not give up as they responded by scoring 6 runs in the top of the ninth inning to take an 8-6 lead. Bryan Leef got the Dons comeback started with an RBI single to cut the Chargers lead to 6-3. After back-to-back strikeouts, Adam Cendejas came off the bench with the bases loaded and delivered a 2-run single that turned into 3 runs scoring after an error in right field to tie the game at 6. The Dons would score 2 more runs in the inning to take an 8-6 lead into the bottom of the ninth.
Facing a 2-run deficit the Chargers' comeback began with a pinch hit single by Tyler Smith (1-for-1) to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning. Cory Wildhagen (1-for-5) then singled to give the Chargers two men on and nobody out. Willie Aguilar (3-for-5, RBI) followed by ripping an RBI single into left field to cut the Dons lead to 8-7. Brandon Alamo (1-for-3, RBI) then came to the dish and hit a game tying RBI single to make it 8-8, but made the first out after being thrown out at second on the play. Garret Calvert came to the plate and swung at strike three from Weddle, but the ball bounced in the dirt and got away from the catcher. While trying to make the play at first, Aguilar raced home with the winning run as the Chargers walked off with a 9-8 victory.
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