Huntington Beach, Calif. - The Golden West baseball team fell to Santa Ana 8-6 in Orange Empire play giving up six runs in the second inning.
The Rustlers (12-8, 1-4) steadily pecked away at the Dons (14-6, 4-1) lead after their second inning explosion for six runs to take a 6-1 lead. Starting pitcher Micah Wallette lasted 1.2 innings surrendering six runs on eight hits while striking out for Dons for the Rustlers. Reliever Josh Ibarra helped settle Golden West down defensively as he worked a solid 4.1 innings giving up one run on three hits while striking out four.
Ibarra's relief allowed the Rustler offense to peck away at the Don's lead to pull within one run in the bottom of the eighth. It was Justin Bushell's double that sparked the Rustler's in the bottom of the sixth inning, after entering the game as a pinch hitter, that led to an Ezlle Wicks RBI single to bring some life back to the team. In the three run eighth inning for the Rustlers, Austin Schell led things off with a double to deep left center field. That's when Bushell came through again, this time with an RBI single to score Schell from second. After a couple of walks, Zakk Morgan who went 3 for 5 on the day, cut the lead to one run with a two RBI single. Unfortunately, the next two batters struck out swinging leaving the tying run on second and go ahead run stranded at first base.
The Don's plated an all important insurance run in the top of the ninth and keep the Rustler comeback from being realized in the bottom of the ninth to win 8-6.
NEXT: Golden West will travel to Santa Ana to finish the three game series on Saturday, March 17, for a noon first pitch.