Baseball team loses heartbreaker in 15 innings at Saddleback

Baseball team loses heartbreaker in 15 innings at Saddleback

Irvine Valley's baseball team lost a tough one on Tuesday.

The Lasers, who have just this week left in the regular season and are fighting for a chance at the playoffs, fell, 10-9, in 15 innings at Saddleback in the first game of an Orange Empire Conference series.

Irvine Valley's record slipped to 20-17-1 overall and 5-14 in conference.

Saddleback improved to 19-18 overall and 7-12 in conference.

The two teams play again on Thursday at IVC at 2 p.m.

Irvine Valley held a 7-1 lead after five innings, but Saddleback rallied with a run in the bottom of the sixth, two runs in the bottom of the seventh and three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to tie the game at 7.

IVC went back ahead with a two-run top of the ninth inning.

Sophomore center fielder Ben McConnell hit a triple that brought in freshman first baseman Pu'ukani De Sa and sophomore shortstop Robert Haw. Irvine Valley led, 9-7.

But a two-run home run by Willia Lajoie in the bottom of the ninth saved the day for Saddleback and tied the score.

IVC had a runner on third base with one out in the top of the 11th inning, but couldn't score.

Saddleback looked like it was going to win the game in the bottom half of the 13th inning when Filip Smola walked to lead off the inning and was moved over the second base with a sacrifice bunt. Ryan Thibert then delivered a single to center field, but Smola was thrown out trying to score on a nice relay from Haw to sophomore catcher Ryan Santa Cruz at the plate.

The game lasted four hours and 29 minutes before Joseph Canty delivered the game-winning hit for Saddleback in the bottom of the 15th inning.

Irvine Valley finished with 12 hits on the day.

Haw went 3 for 8 with three runs scored. Freshman left fielder Kyle Dobson was 2 for 3 with two RBI, McConnell went 2 for 7 with a triple and three RBI, Santa Cruz went 2 for 5 with a walk and sophomore second baseman Trent Whitaker was 1 for 5 with a home run and three RBI.  

Whitaker hit a three-run home run in the top of the fourth inning to help IVC get out to an early 4-1 lead.

Freshman righty Brennen Farber started on the mound for the Lasers an went six innings. He gave up four runs (three earned) on 10 hits and one walk with two strikeouts.

Sophomores Matt Wong, Nick Janowicz and Noah Bradford came on in relief.

Bradford took the loss (2-3). He pitched 6.1 innings and gave up two runs on six hits and three walks with one strikeout.

Hunter Ash picked up the win in relief for the Gauchos. He threw the final two innings and didn't give up a hit or a run with two strikeouts.

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