No. 15 College of the Canyons took a two-run lead into the seventh inning but let No. 3 Santa Ana College bounce back to win 6-5 at Cougar Field on Thursday.
Canyons (7-7) jumped all over Dons starting pitcher Guillermo Sanchez, scoring runs in the first and second innings. COC freshman outfielder Cole Kleszcz later tagged the right-hander for a three-run home run in the fourth to give the Cougars a 5-2 lead.
Sanchez lasted just three and 2/3 inning, and was hit for five runs, four earned, on seven hits. He entered the game having allowed just one earned run in his first 28 innings of work.
Santa Ana (13-2) also had some early success against COC starter Justin Dehn, who gave up a two-run home in the first inning but otherwise was in control against the Dons' lineup.
Dehn ended his day after giving up five runs, but only two earned, in six and 1/3 innings on the mound. The sophomore struck out six batters and issued one walk in the no decision.
Kleszcz' home run put the exclamation point on COC's day at the plate, but would also represent the final runs of the day.
COC threatened again in the sixth after Medina doubled and Lepre walked to put two on with one out, but the Cougars couldn't get either runner home.
Medina was 3-for-5 on the day. Keach went 2-for-5 with a run and Wes Felber finished 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored.
Menawhile, the Dons would go on to score three unearned runs, including two in the top of the seventh, to tie the game at 5-5.
In all, the Cougars committed four errors on the day to aid Santa Ana in the comeback bid.
COC reliever Jarrett Poh (1-1) suffered the loss after allowing the go-ahead run in the top half of the eighth, as the Dons put together a two-out rally that culminated with an RBI-single to left field.
Poh pitched two and 2/3 innings, striking out four batters and walking one.
Canyons was retired in order in the eighth and ninth innings to end the game. Santa Ana reliever Austin Weddle (1-0) got the win, and Gabe Armstrong earned the save.
The Cougars will head south to conclude the two-game series with Santa Ana at 12 p.m. Saturday, March 4.
—Story and photos by Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information