The Saddleback baseball team completed a sweep of Santa Ana College on Friday afternoon at Doug Fritz Field, beating the Dons 9-2. With the win, the Gauchos are in a two-way tie for third place with six conference games remaining.
For a 20-year period, Santa Ana was one of the more dominant baseball programs in the state and frequently a thorn in the side of Saddleback. The Gauchos entered the season just 49-92-1 in the lifetime series, their worst overall record against any team in the history books. Something has changed, however, over the past three seasons. The Gauchos have now won eight straight games over Santa Ana since 2015 and completed a second straight sweep of the season series on Friday.
Santa Ana took a 2-0 lead in the third inning after a couple of Gaucho miscues in the field led to an early Dons lead. Saddleback then cranked up the offense and surged past Santa Ana, scoring twice in the third inning, three times in the fourth and four more times in the sixth in taking a commanding lead. The Gauchos received some help from Santa Ana, who surrendered eight walks and committed a pair of errors of their own.
Tyler Clark was a headache for Santa Ana, reaching base all four times he came to the plate. Clark walked in the bottom of the third inning and came around to score the second run of the inning on a single by Zack Bowman to tie the game. He then had a run-scoring double in the fourth inning, driving home Brett Auerbach and giving the Gauchos a 5-2 lead. In the bottom of the sixth inning, Clark then doubled home Auerbach with the opening run of the inning and eventually scored on a wild pitch for a 7-2 lead.
Meanwhile, Michael Carr was busy shutting down the Dons and cruising to his fifth win of the year. Carr pitched six innings of three-hit ball, surrendering no walks while striking out three. He eventually gave way to Devin Sutorius and Bradley Spooner, who closed the door. The Gaucho pitching staff gave up no walks all afternoon while striking out six as Saddleback won its third straight game and sixth in the past eight.
Saddleback will have its annual trip to the Central Valley next week as Orange Empire Conference play takes a week off. The Gauchos will open the three-day tour on Tuesday at Reedley College. Game time is scheduled for 3:00 PM.