Through five and a half innings, Irvine Valley's baseball team looked to be in control in the rubber game of the opening Orange Empire Conference series of the season at Santa Ana on Saturday.
Irvine Valley, ranked No. 5 in Southern California, was ahead, 4-0, but the Lasers couldn't hold on.
No. 9 Santa Ana closed out the game with five runs and held on for a 5-4 victory to capture the series.
Irvine Valley's record went to 15-4-1 overall and 1-2 in conference, while Santa Ana improved to 12-6 overall and 2-1 in conference.
The Dons rallied by scoring two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to cut Irvine Valley's lead in half.
And then Santa Ana scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh to take the lead.
The Dons turned to Joel Casillas in the eighth inning and he delivered with a two-inning save to secure the series for Santa Ana.
Irvine Valley scored three runs in the top of the third inning to go up.
Then in the top of the sixth, freshman shortstop Robert Haw added to IVC's lead with a solo home run.
Irvine Valley sophomore pitcher Nick Janowicz got the start on the mound and went five innings, allowing no runs on two hits and two walks with seven strikeouts.
Sophomore Chad Burchit took the loss in relief. He gave up five runs (three earned) on six hits and one walk in 1.2 innings.
Sophomore Matt Wong pitched 1.1 scoreless innings to end the game for IVC.
Haw was 2 for 2 with the home run and one RBI for Irvine Valley.
The Lasers start a three-game series with top-ranked Orange Coast at home on Tuesday at 2 p.m.