Suffering three crumbling defeats to Saddleback, the Pirates would have had its hands full once again coming up against the Santa Ana Dons in its next series.
The Dons had been an unbeatable force for the majority of the season’s first half, losing just twice during a 17- game span. Coming out of its opening games of conference play, the Dons had been brought down closer to earth but were still winning games going (3-2).
Santa Ana had spent the season hovering around the middle of the pack when it came to statistics alone, as the team’s combined ERA and batting average ranked third in the Orange Empire Conference respectively. When it came down to record, however, the Dons compiled the best outside of conference play of its OEC opponents going (15-2).
Two innings into the sims game one though, and the Pirates were making the Dons look like a lesser foe as it scored four runs in back-to-back innings to open the game. Chase Hanson, an OCC sophomore, helped extend the lead in the second when his bases-clearing double brought in the final three runs of the second inning.
During the bottom of the second the Dons would do its best to at least reply, putting up three runs of its own. Sophomore pitcher Jack Noble would rebound from his previous outing in which he lost to the Gauchos. It was a respectable start, with Noble on the mound for seven innings, giving up four runs on six hits, and seven strikeouts.
A triple by sophomore Ryan O’halloran put him into scoring position before he was eventually brought in by freshman Cary Arbolida’s single. The run would push the Pirates over the hump and solidify its first victory of the series.
Game two was dominated by the Pirates who put up a whopping 17 runs in a rout of the Dons. Freshman Logan Jackson was unbelievable for the Pirates, racking up three hits, two RBI’s and three runs.
Sophomore Michael Ryhlick could have gone the distance, putting in eight innings of convincing work, but sophomore Brenden Argomaniz was given the nod to finish off the game.
The way game three got underway would have left everyone to write off Santa Ana. Sophomore standout David Morgan and February’s OEC player of the month Ardolida both went deep in a five run first inning for the Pirates.
Those were the only runs the Pirates would put up though, as the Dons would comeback from five down before putting the game away with a two-run eighth inning to save its series.
Even after dropping the third contest, the Pirates have to be pleased with two victories against one of the OEC's finest. The team's record now improves to (17-15), and (8-9) in conference play as the Pirates hope to right the ship.