SANTA ANA, Calif. - With a sweep of the No. 13 seeded Fullerton Hornets (26-22) in the Southern California Regional Finals, the Santa Ana College Baseball team has punched its ticket to the California Community College Athletic Association (3C2A) State Championships for the first time since 2011.
In game one, the Dons (33-15) absorbed Fullerton's best punch as they found themselves down 5-2 following a grand slam from Niko Santamaria in the sixth inning.
But Santa Ana's ability to score runs is second to none, which they proved in the bottom half of the inning.
Austin Haller and Mikey Rocha both singled with one out to set up Marc Schavone (5th HR) for a game tying three-run home run. The Dons used that momentum to score three more in the inning on a Hornet error that brought in two and an RBI double from Eddie Pelc.
The Dons scored once more on an RBI double from Mario Tostado and cruised on defense to earn a 9-5 win, gaining a 1-0 series advantage.
Starting pitcher Hauze Fragoso gave SAC another quality start with five and two third innings while giving up three runs (two earned) and striking out five. Matt Schavone came out of the bullpen and picked up the win as he struck out three and gave up two runs over an inning and two thirds. Joey Iglesias was called on to record the final five outs to earn his fourth save of the season.
On Saturday, the Dons took care of business as they came alive late to score 12 runs on 16 hits.
Eddie Pelc (9th HR) gave Santa Ana an early lead with a two-run shot over the right field fence in the third inning.
After the Hornets produced two of their own runs to tie the game in the fourth, Austin Haller came up big with a two out RBI single up the middle to put the Dons up 3-2.
Left-handed reliever Rocco Gurrola was then able to silence the Hornet bats for the next three innings to allow SAC to create some separation.
The Dons scored nine runs in the sixth and seventh innings, highlighted by a grand slam from Troy Kent (12th HR), to overpower the Hornets and earn a 12-4 win.
Santa Ana will now be headed North to the 3C2A State Championships which will be held at Folsom Lake College from May 27-29th. They are the first team in the state to secure their spot and will be joined by two teams from the North and the winner of the second SoCal Regional Final between Saddleback College and College of the Canyons.
When available, the 3C2A State Championship bracket will be posted here.