Irvine Valley's baseball team scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and then held on to beat Santa Ana, 4-3, to level the three-game, Orange Empire Conference opening series on Thursday at home.
The rubber game of the series will be played on Saturday at Santa Ana at noon between Irvine Valley (15-3-1, 1-1) and the Dons (11-6, 1-1).
Both games so far have been decided by one run with Santa Ana earning a 3-2 victory on Tuesday at home.
On Thursday it was Irvine Valley's turn to pull a game out.
Santa Ana, ranked No. 9 in Southern California, scored the first three runs of the game – all in the top of the third inning. All three runs were unearned.
Frank Garcia drove in a run with a single to the left side and then Drake Wood hit a two-run home run over the left field fence to give the Dons a 3-0 advantage.
But the fifth-ranked Lasers took the lead with their four-spot in the bottom of the sixth inning.
IVC scored chased Santa Ana starting pitcher Dane Baker and then got to reliever Jacob Ayala.
Sophomore right fielder Michael Hascup drove in Irvine Valley's first run with a single to right field.
With the bases loaded, freshman designated hitter Gilberto Gonzalez then brought in a run with an infield single and sophomore catcher Ryan Santa Cruz followed with an RBI infield single to tie the score at 3.
With the bases still loaded, sophomore center fielder Ben McConnell was hit by a pitch by Ayala to bring home what turned out to be the winning run from third base.
Burchit pitched two scoreless innings. He gave up a hit to start the ninth inning and then Bradford came in to close the Dons out.
Dunham gave up three runs (all unearned) on five hits and one walk with four strikeouts. He picked up the win to move to 4-0 on the year.
Burchit went two scoreless innings, giving up three hits and striking out two and Bradford earned his third save of the season with a scoreless ninth. He struck out pinch-hitter Andrew Gallegos to end the game.
Irvine Valley had 10 hits on the afternoon. Freshman left fielder Kyle Dobson went 2 for 4, Hascup went 2 for 3 with one RBI and Santa Cruz was 2 for 4 with one RBI.
Santa Ana got the two hits, including the two-run home run and two RBI, from Wood. Garcia went 2 for 4 with one RBI.