Charger starting pitcher Daniel Poncedeleon (2-0) got some early help from a big four-run bottom of the second inning, to pick up his second victory of the year. Poncedeleon threw a solid 5.2 innings of four-hit ball with five strikeouts and two runs allowed.
Four other Cypress hurlers came out of the bullpen to secure the victory for the Chargers (10-2) after the Bulldogs (2-9) battled back to get within two runs at 5-3.
Reliever Darren Gidley (1-1) earned his fourth save of the season after throwing a scoreless eighth and one-run ninth inning, which included stranding a pair of Bulldog runners on second and third with no outs in the top of the eighth inning, and homerun allowed in the ninth.
Pierce Bily (2 for 4, 2 RBI, 2 Runs) made the most of his return to the leadoff spot on Saturday by scoring the first run of the game on a Jake Clark (1 for 4) double play ground ball in the bottom of the first.
The Charger bats got right back after it against Allan Hancock's starting pitcher Cody Shrider (0-2) in the bottom of the second inning when they put four more runs on the board to open up a commanding 5-0 nothing advantage. Shrider would finish the inning, but his day was done after that. His closing line included five runs allowed - all earned - on six hits, three walks, no strikeouts, in two innings of work.
Trent Zaks (0 for 3, 1 Run) and Jake MacWilliam (0 for 1, 2 Runs, 2 Walks) both came in to score on a two RBI single by Bily to give Cypress a 3-0 edge in the ballgame. After Bily and Brad Hartong (2 for 2, 1 Run) pulled off a double steal of second and third base, Hartong came in to score on a single by Robert Chavarria, then Bily trotted home on a sac fly to left by Dylan Fitzgerald (2 for 4, 1 Run, 1 RBI) that put the Chargers comfortably ahead 5-0.
After scoring a pair of runs in the top of the fifth inning to cut the deficit to three, Allan Hancock added another run in the top of the seventh to make it a two-run ballgame.
Cypress answered back with a run in the bottom of the seventh, and another run in the eighth to stretch its lead back to four runs. Fitzgerald scored on a hard hit liner to first by Zach Alofaituli (0 for 3, 1 RBI) that the Bulldog first baseman couldn't handle. A perfectly placed drag-sac bunt by Anthony Razo in the bottom of the eighth scored MacWilliam from third base for the Chargers final run of the inning.
Hancock's Daniel Mallory (2 for 5, 3 RBI, 2 Runs, HR) hit his second home run of the series when he connected off of Gidley for a homerun over the centerfield wall in the top of the ninth inning. That finished off all the scoring for the game to give Cypress a 7-4 non-conference win, and a series sweep over the Bulldogs.
Chargers Cruise Past Bulldogs 9-5 in Series Opener
Jake Clark hit his first home run of the season, and finished 2 for 3 at the dish with three runs scored and a pair of RBI. Fellow sophomore Brad Hartong (1 for 1, 2 Runs, 1 RBI) joined the homerun club as well when he deposited his first round tripper of the year over the wall in left field.
Razo (3 for 4, 1 Run) continued to swing a hot bat for the Chargers, while three other Cypress hitters chipped in with multiple hit efforts. Mike Marcoux finished the day 2 for 4 with an RBI, Dylan Moore went 2 for 4 with a run scored and an RBI, while Jonathan Torres had a pair of hits in four at-bats, and came in to score both times. MacWilliam scored the other Charger run in the game, while Rowan Wick accounted for Cypress' only other other RBI.
On the mound, Ricky Schafer went to 2-1 on the year after picking up the victory coming out of the bullpen. Cypress starting pitcher Carl Robinson got the no-decision after coming out after four innings. Robinson was having a great strikeout day on the mound by fanning 7 of the 15 hitters he faced, and only giving up three hits and two runs.
Alon Leichman made his third appearance of the year after battling back from Tommy John Surgery, which kept him on the shelf for all of last season. Schafer's 2.2 innings of shutout ball kept the Bulldogs at bay and put Cypress in great position to win. Raleigh Rushing got his first save after tossing a scoreless ninth inning.
Cypress will open its Orange Empire Conference schedule next week with an away game against the undefeated Pirates from Orange Coast at 2 p.m. on Thursday, March 1, before returning home to host Riverside C.C. on Saturday at noon.