SANTA ANA, Calif. - No. 4 Santa Ana Baseball held on to an early lead to defeat the No. 5 seeded Palomar Comets by a score of 13-9 to force a game three their CCCAA SoCal Super Regional series.
The Dons (32-11-1, 13-8) put up five runs in the first two innings to set the tone for the rest of the day.
Kyle Ashworth got things started for the Dons in the first as he turned on a hanging pitch to send it over the right field fence, giving SAC a 1-0 lead. It was a nice moment for the All-OEC center fielder after he just missed a walk-off home run by a few feet in game one.
After a scoreless first for the Comets, Santa Ana went back to work in the second and loaded the bases with one out. Ryann Stock drew a walk to get one run across before Morrell scored on a wild pitch, giving the Dons a 3-0 lead.
The Dons scored two more on a ground out by Christian Thompson as he collided with the Comet pitcher after running through the bag at first, giving Stock enough time to round third and score.
Palomar showed that they are a tough team as they bounced back in the next half inning with two runs on a homerun by Carter Hain to make it 5-2 at the end of the second.
A couple innings later Santa Ana increased their lead with two runs in the fourth and another four in the fifth to go up 11-2.
The Comets continued to stay within striking distance as they rallied to cut the lead to just four runs by the ninth inning. But they could not get over the hump after the Dons inserted Cedrick Perez, who shut things down by recording the last four outs.
Chase Hennessey returned to the mound for the Dons to earn the win with a four run, three strikeout performance in 5.2 innings.
Game three is set for Sunday at noon with the winner advancing to the CCCAA SoCal Sectionals against No. 1 Saddleback next weekend.