Chad Wanders, showing the benefits of a long rest, struck out a season-high 13 in 8 1/3 innings as host Saddleback beat Los Angeles Pierce, 5-2, in a Southern California baseball playoff game Friday.
Wanders, a sophomore right-hander, needed help in the ninth inning after Pierce loaded the bases with one out on a single, double and a walk.
Ryan McDermott replaced Wanders and struck out two for his third save. McDermott got Casey Cote to strike out swinging to end the game with Mike Glendenning on deck. Glendenning has 17 home runs and 57 runs batted in this season.
The victory gives Saddleback a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series. The teams play again at 11 a.m. today at Saddleback. If Pierce (28-13) wins the first game, a second will follow.
Wanders, who missed most of the first month because of a sore arm, returned to the rotation and won five consecutive starts. He had struggled in his last two starts, getting a loss and a no decision but had eight days off before Friday.
"I think the rest really helped a lot," he said. "But I did start to tire in the seventh and eighth."
Dom Lombardi hit a two-out home run in the sixth inning to give Saddleback a 3-2 lead. It was his seventh homer of the season.
Saddleback (27-13) scored twice more in the seventh on an RBI single by Corrie Willkie and a sacrifice fly by Tavares Comeaux to go ahead, 5-2.
Wanders' biggest trouble came in the sixth after Glendenning had an RBI single and a throwing error led to another run to score to tie it, 2-2.
Carlos Nunez then hit a deep fly ball to right that Matt France couldn't find at first then recovered and caught as he fell on his back. With runners on second and third, Wanders got out of the inning by striking out the next two batters.
France, who platoons in right field, had a two-run double in the second to put Saddleback ahead, 2-0. It was his fourth and fifth RBIs of the year.
In other playoff games:
Cypress 12, San Bernardino Valley 4--Michael Cosgrove set a school record for career victories and Jeremy Booth hit two homers and drove in five runs for Cypress, the top-seeded team in Southern California. Cosgrove (9-1) went eight innings, giving up four runs on five hits, to earn his 18th career victory at Cypress.
Booth was three for five and is 17 for his last 23 overall. Keith Ginter hit a homer for the Chargers (34-11).
Cuesta 8, Rancho Santiago 6--Cuesta scored five unearned on three Rancho Santiago errors. Mark Martinez's two-run homer in the eighth broke a 6-6 tie for Cuesta (33-12). Brent Howes had a two-run shot in the fourth to tie the score, 4-4, for the Dons (31-11), the defending state champions. The teams play at Rancho Santiago at 11 a.m. today and the Dons will have to win twice to advance.