After dropping two straight to first-ranked Riverside Community College, Santa Ana looked to bounce back on Saturday, April 15.
Freshman Jaxton Andeel got the call to start for the Dons. Andeel went five innings, allowing two runs on five hits while striking out four.
The Tigers struck first in the top of the second off a sacrifice fly to right field.
In the fourth inning, the Tigers tacked on two more runs, one from a wild pitch and one from another sacrifice fly, this time to center field.
The Dons were down by the three runs heading into the bottom of the fifth. Center fielder Eddie Pelc reached on an error, which ended up being crucial for the moment that followed.
Designated hitter Troy Kent stepped up to bat and hit a two run homer to right field. Putting the Dons on the board for a score of 3-2. Kent leads the team with seven home runs on the season.
Andeel was relieved from his pitching duties in the top of the sixth. Sophomore Matt Schavone then came in to pitch and he dealt against RCC, allowing no hits in his two innings of work.
In the bottom of the sixth, Sophomore Mark Schavone started off the inning with a triple to right center. He was then brought in by a sac fly from freshman Matthew Dobson, tying up the game 3-3.
With momentum on their side and confidence brewing, the Dons stepped up to the plate the next inning with dangerous intentions.
A slugfest was held by the Dons against the RCC pitchers in the bottom of the seventh. Troy Kent started off the inning with a walk, then Sophomore Mario Tostado hit a moonshot to deep center, going over the fence for a two run home run. The two run home run gave the Dons a 5-3 lead with no outs.
Up next to bat was Sophomore Austin Haller, who roped a hit to center field. The outfielder dove for the ball but missed. Haller flew around the bases, rounded second and headed for third.
Third base coach Dennis Gerbasi gave him the green light and sent him home. Haller had himself an inside-the-park home run. The Dons had themselves a pair of back-to-back homers.
The score was then 6-3.
Later in the seventh inning, RCC changed their pitcher, but the Dons weren’t fazed. Freshman Jimmy De Anda stepped up with a runner on first and launched a home run to left field. It was the fourth home run of the game. The Dons tacked six runs in the seventh inning for a score of 9-3.
“It’s expected, we’re expected to come out and hit against any team, and the games we lose, we just do it to ourselves,” said De Anda. “After losing the past two games we came out hot for this game.”
Freshman Rocco Gurrols came in to pitch for Schavone, allowing no runs in a clean eight frame.
However, in the ninth inning, RCC attempted a comeback with bases loaded and no outs. Freshman CJ Brown came in to relieve Gurrola. Brown pegged the first batter, forcing a run home.
However, that was the only damage allowed by Brown. The next batter grounded to Brown, who then turned home. The relay throw was in time to first, for a clutch 1-2-3 double play. The next batter flew out to center, securing the win for the Dons.
“We played well today, minimized our mistakes which cost us our last couple games, but overall happy with our performance today,” said head coach Tom Nilles.
With this win the Dons improved their record to 22-12 overall and 9-6 in conference. They look to continue with this win’s momentum heading to their next series against Cypress Community College on Tuesday, April 18.