Dons Defeat Fullerton College 16-9 in Offensive Slugfest

Nestor Linares drives the ball against Fullerton College. Linares hit a home run for the Dons in the fourth inning.
Nestor Linares drives the ball against Fullerton College. Linares hit a home run for the Dons in the fourth inning.

SANTA ANA - The Dons took a 2-0 series lead over Fullerton College today with their 16-9 win. The victory also moves the Dons (17-8, 8-4) into a tie for first place in the Orange Empire Conference with Saddleback College after the Gauchos lost to Golden West College 2-1. Orange Coast College is also in that tie after the Pirates defeated Irvine Valley College 3-1.

Fullerton (17-8, 7-5) held the first lead of the game after the Hornets leadoff batter, Dakota Wix, was hit by a pitch before eventually coming around to score on Oliver Jackson's double down the left field line.

But the game quickly switched to the favor of the host Dons who scored six runs in the bottom half of the inning, with five different Don batters getting a RBI. Ryan Aguilar singled in Joshua Vargas before Alex Mascarenas scored on a wild pitch.

Garret Brown followed with a RBI-single that scored Aguilar before scoring on a fielder's choice by Nestor Linares. Troy Baird, who reached on a walk, came around to score when Philip Anderson was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded before Linares scored on a bases loaded walk issued to Vargas.

After Fullerton scored one run in the second, the Dons scored two in the third on a double by Aguilar. The two teams would then match each other in the fourth and fifth innings, scoring one run apiece in the fourth and four runs apiece in the fifth.

The Dons run in the fourth came on a solo home run by Linares while Brown drove in two of the runs in the fifth inning. The other two runs were scored on errors.

The two teams would pace each other again in the seventh with two runs apiece. Fullerton used a solo home run and a fielder's choice to score its runs while Daniel Martinez, Jr. provided the highlight for the Dons with his towering two-run home to right field. Martinez's home run not only cleared the right field fence, but also the left field fence of the neighboring softball field.

The Dons final run came in the eighth inning when Christopher Ferret grounded out to first base, allowing Aguilar to score.

George Avina (1-1) got the win for the Dons as he pitched 1.1 innings in relief. Avina held the Hornets scoreless while allowing three hits with two strikeouts. A.J. Franks picked up his sixth save of the season after pitching the game's final 2.2 innings. Franks entered the game with the bases loaded and the Dons holding a four-run lead and finished without allowing a run.