The 2017 regular season concluded on Friday afternoon with Saddleback defeating Cypress College, 7-3, at Doug Fritz Field. Brett Auerbach had a big day while pitcher Michael Carr improved to 7-0 on the season.
Saddleback needed a win to clinch at least a tie for third place in the Orange Empire Conference after dropping the first two games of a three-game set with Cypress earlier in the week. The Gauchos delivered thanks to Auerbach, who was a machine at the plate. The freshman from Tesoro High School finished 4-for-5, coming within an eyelash of hitting for the cycle.
Auerbach doubled in the bottom half of the first inning and came around to score on an RBI single by Zack Bowman to give Saddleback a 1-0 lead. He then hit his first home run of the season to start the third inning for a 2-0 cushion. Auerbach doubled with one out in the fifth inning and later came around to score when Bowman singled him home for a 3-0 lead. He then came up with two outs in the sixth inning and delivered a single to center field, scoring both Mike Jarvis and Erik Voller for a 5-0 advantage. Auerbach had one more opportunity at the cycle in the eighth inning but flew out to right field with the Gauchos nursing a 7-3 lead.
Meanwhile, on the mound, Carr was nearly flawless through six innings before getting into a jam in the seventh inning. He struck out four while walking one and leaving in the top of the seventh with two runs in after giving up three straight singles. Devin Sutorius came in and put out the fire as Cypress scored three in the inning to cut the Saddleback lead to 5-3.
Saddleback quickly scored two more times in the bottom half of the seventh for a 7-3 lead when they took advantage of a wild pitch and passed ball while collecting two hits of their own.
Saddleback finishes the regular season 25-15 overall and 11-10 in Orange Empire Conference play. The Gauchos will find out their playoff fate this weekend when the coaches convene to determine the playoff seeds.