Santa Ana – Saddleback entered Thursday’s conference game at Santa Ana College in control of third place in the Orange Empire Conference. The game, on the other hand, turned out into a classic pitchers duel between two aces and resulted in a 2-1 Dons victory.
Gauchos Lauren Molina (17-8) pitched 6.2 innings before giving up a triple to Dons Natalie DeLeese. DeLeese later scored the winning run on a single by Breanna Dravis, leaving Saddleback on the short end of a very close game.
The Gauchos struck first in the fifth inning when Catcher Krystal Navarro grounded out to third base to score second basemen Blythe Ashby, but that was the limit of their offensive attack. They ended the game with only six hits.
The winning pitcher for the Dons, Loren Harrell (9-5), pitched seven innings, giving up one earned run, walking four and striking out one.
With the win, Santa Ana (21-17, 8-9) ties Santiago Canyon for fifth place in the OEC, one game behind Saddleback (28-11, 9-8), which fell to fourth in conference.
The Gauchos will look to improve their position in the standings when they travel to Riverside to take on the Tigers, Friday at 2 p.m. Then will return home to take on Santiago Canyon, Monday at 3 p.m.
For more on the Saddleback Gauchos Softball team visit, www.saddleback.edu/athletics/softball/siftballindex.html.