The Saddleback baseball team took over first place in the Orange Empire Conference with a 6-5 win at Fullerton College on Wednesday afternoon in Fullerton. The Gauchos took advantage of four Hornet errors in winning their 20th game of the year.
Saddleback was looking for back-to-back victories in as many days and received some help in achieving their goal. The Hornets made a bundle of blunders in the field, giving the Gauchos four free runs on a day where there was little room for error.
Saddleback opened the game with three walks and a single, scoring their first run of the game when Fullerton right fielder Thomas Delgadillo committed an error to allow Jo-Jo Quintanilla to score. The Gauchos would add a run later in the inning on a sacrifice fly by Connor Glenn for a 2-0 lead.
Saddleback's lead was short-lived as Fullerton battled back for three runs in the bottom half of the inning when the Hornets touched up Gaucho starter Bradley Spooner for three hits and a walk. It was the last time the Hornets would score off Spooner until the ninth inning, as the sophomore settled down and controlled the Hornet offense over the next seven innings.
Saddleback tied the game in the top half of the fourth inning when Chad Crosbie delivered a two-out single up the middle of the infield to score Connor Glenn. It was one of two hits on the day for Crosbie (pictured), who reached base three times on the day.
Saddleback took the lead in the top half of the sixth inning when they scored a pair of runs after Fullerton committed two errors. The Gauchos sent seven batters to the plate but never had a hit in grabbing a 5-3 lead.
Saddleback added an insurance run in the top half of the seventh inning when Fullerton had more problems in the field. The Gauchos scored without a hit for the second straight inning as the Hornets committed an error and a balk while the lead grew to 6-3.
Fullerton made a charge in the bottom of the ninth inning when the Hornets led off the inning with a pair of singles, chasing Spooner from the game. Saddleback would call Connor Sealey out of the pen, who got a groundout to start before giving up a two-run single to Jake Anderson as the lead dwindled to 6-5. Sealey then received some help from catcher Brett Auerbach, who gunned down pinch-runner Angel Lopez trying to steal second base for the second out of the inning. Sealey would then get Dylan Voelker to ground out to second base to end the game in picking up his fourth save of the season.
Saddleback improved to 20-4 overall and 6-2 in Orange Empire Conference play with the win. The Gauchos now stand alone atop the conference standings, one game ahead of both Fullerton and Orange Coast College. The Gauchos and Hornets conclude the three-game series on Friday night at Doug Fritz Field. The scheduled start time is 6:00 PM.