By: Jorge Campos
Freshman catcher Annie Dowling’s third-inning grand slam propelled the Dons past the visiting Palomar College Comets, as Santa Ana College won 9-4 Jan. 31. “I thought, ‘I got to make contact, I got to make contact for my team. I have to come through’ and I did,” Dowling said.
The Dons scored nine unanswered runs over the final four innings. Trailing by four runs in the bottom of the third, the Dons scored six runs on five hits and a throwing error, taking the lead for good. Three of the six runs were scored off Comets starter Kristina Carbajal.
Carlie Daniel entered in relief and threw a wild pitch before surrendering a single and a walk to load the bases for Dowling.
With two outs, Dowling smashed a Daniel offering that cleared the center field fence.
“Unfortunately, we made a couple of errors that cost us some big plays, and extended their innings a little too long but credit to them [SAC] they came back and won,” said Palomar Head Coach Lacey Craft.
The Dons added three insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth, extending the lead to five. Pinch hitter Natalie Wolf scored the final run of the game on a sacrifice fly off the bat of freshman Paolena Comouche.
“We were down early, but the key was to not panic,” Dons Co-Head Coach Jessica Rapoza said.
Palomar scored all four runs off Dons starter Kirstin Gutierrez, who gave up eight hits and a home run while striking out a batter.
Freshman Lindsey Esparza picked up her first victory of the season, throwing one perfect inning. Right-hander Frances Campoy converted her first save of the season, hurling four innings of one-hit ball.
The three Dons pitchers did not allow a walk.
“I felt really confident throwing first pitch strikes. Today, my inside screwball was working,” Campoy said.
In 14 innings pitched through three games this season, Campoy has not allowed an earned run.
For three consecutive seasons, 2010-12, the Dons started 5-0. In 2013 the Dons lost its second game.
Through three games this season, the team is 3-0 and looking to continue the hot start in 2014 as sophomore outfielder Keila Tenorio leads the charge with a .750 batting average in her first eight at bats.
The Dons play at 3 p.m. Wednesday in Orange Coast College.