The Saddleback baseball team bounced back from two straight losses with a 13-1 win against Santa Ana College on Tuesday in Santa Ana. The Gauchos scored nine runs in the ninth inning in moving into a tie for second place in the Orange Empire Conference.
Saddleback was coming off of a couple of disappointing losses to end last week and was facing a Santa Ana team that had won five straight coming in. The Gauchos rode the hot hand of ace pitcher Tanner Brubaker, who pitched through the eighth inning while the offense figured things out in the final inning.
Saddleback scored a solo run in the first inning and two more in the second in taking a 3-0 lead. They would eventually stretch the lead to 4-0 before Santa Ana countered with a run in the bottom of the fifth inning to keep the Dons within striking distance.
Things came crashing down on Santa Ana when Saddleback sent 12 batters to the plate in the final inning. The Gauchos had six hits in the inning, including a pair of home runs from Jordan Fitzgerald and Brett Auerbach. Leading 8-1, Fitzgerald hit a three-run homer over the right field wall with Spencer Heinsius and Riley Kasper on base to extend the lead to 11-1. Two batters later, Auerbach (pictured) homered to right field with Filip Smola on base to give the Gauchos a baker's dozen. Saddleback would then empty out the bench in the bottom half of the inning with the game intact.
Brubaker kept Santa Ana off balance for most of the day, giving up five hits while striking out five in improving to 9-2 on the season and lowering his ERA to 1.20. Brubaker has had nine starts this season where he surrendered 1-or-less, earned-runs.
Saddleback (23-9, 8-5) moved into a tie for second place in the Orange Empire Conference with the win. The Gauchos and Dons (17-15, 5-8) will meet again on Thursday at Doug Fritz Field. The first pitch is scheduled for 2:00 PM.