Saturday, March 10, 2012

Cypress Rallies to Top Dons in Ten

Chargers rally to beat Santa Ana in extra innings.
Mike Marcoux
Cypress, Calif. - Mike Marcoux came through with a huge two-out, pinch-hit single that brought the Chargers back from two runs down in bottom of the ninth inning to send the game into extra innings. Robert Chavarria drove in the game winner in the bottom of the tenth to complete the come-from behind Orange Empire Conference victory over Santa Ana College at home on Saturday.

A leadoff double by Brad Hartong (2 for 4, 1 Run) would prove to be the eventual game winning run when Chavarria slapped a single through the left side to bring him in.

Down a run heading into the top of the ninth, Darren Gidley was brought in to start the inning by head coach Scott Pickler to keep it a one-run ballgame. The Dons Armijo had other plans when his solo shot over the left field wall gave SAC the insurance run it was looking for to make it 6-4 heading into Cypress College's last at bat.

After a pair of ground outs to begin their half of the ninth, the Chargers (14-3, 3-2) got a gift from above when Dylan Fitzgerald's routine grounder to second nearly ended the game in what looked to be the final out of the day, but a game-changing error by the Dons' second baseman allowed Fitzgerald to reach first safey, and keep the Chargers comeback hopes alive. 

When a pinch-hit walk by the next man up, Trent Zaks, chased Santa Ana starting pitcher Bryan Clough after 8.2 innings of work, SAC reliever Christian Uchytil came out of the bullpen to try and shut down the Cypress rally. After working the count full, pinch hitter Zack Alofatuli drew a walk to load the bases full of Chargers for the third pinch hitter of the inning, Marcoux. Marcoux didn't waste any time against Uchytil when he jumped on a first pitch fastball, and delivered a two-out, game-tieing single up the middle that brought Fitzgerald in from third base, and pinch runner Anthony Razo around from second base to tie the game at 6-6 and send the game into extra innings.

The Chargers got two big sparks to start the game off with a 2-0 lead after Pierce Bily hit a leadoff bomb over the left field wall to put Cypress on the board first. A couple of batters later, Jake Clark cranked his second home run of the year to make it a 2-0 game.

Santa Ana got one run back in the second, but Cypress opened up a 4-1 advantage heading into the fifth inning after Clark and Fitzgerald scored on a couple of fielding errors in the bottom of the fourth inning.

The Dons answered right back with a pair of runs in their half of the fifth to cut Cypress' lead to a run at 4-3, then scored twice more in the sixth the take their first lead of the afternoon at 5-4. That would be the end of Cypress starter Daniel Poncedeleon's day after five innings on the hill. Poncedeleon wouldn't factor into the decision. SAC held onto that one-run lead until Armijo's solo homer in the ninth put the Chargers in a two-run hole heading into the bottom of the ninth inning.

The comeback kids have been making a habit of winning games late this season, and Saturday's win over the Dons was no exception. The Chargers won their OEC home opener over Riverside College in the bottom of the ninth after trailing by a run to start the inning, and used a four-run seventh inning to re-take the lead over Saddleback College on Thursday to pick up their second conference win. Two days earlier they nearly did it again at Irvine Valley, but a missed scoring opportunity in the top of the ninth left the door open for IVC to turn the trick on them with a walk off single in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Cypress goes on the road for a pair of games at Golden West College at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, March 13, and at Fullerton College at 2 p.m. on Thursday, March 15, before returning home to host OEC leader, Orange Coast College at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20 in a matchup between two of the top teams in the state.

Photogallery: Cypress vs. Santa Ana

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