Catalina Foothills registered two home runs Tuesday night, but visiting Salpointe Catholic used a big second inning and a strong outing from sophomore ace Jio Orozco to top the Falcons 13-6.
The Lancers (12-5) scored six runs with two outs in the second inning to take a commanding 7-0 lead they never looked back from.
Foothills stayed in the game with the help of an inside-the-park home run by junior Luis Gonzalez in the third inning and a two-run long ball by senior Tyler Alev in the fifth, but coach Jim Baldwin said the early deficit was too big to overcome.
"The ball game was ended early unfortunately," Baldwin said. "I think we battled back, but I think the game was decided early."
Alev started the game on the mound and retired the first two batters in the second inning. But Salpointe junior Luis Valenzuela got on with a walk, and junior Louie Peralta chopped a single up the middle to put runners on the corners.
Then senior Ray Gamez singled to bring in Valenzuela. One batter later, junior Ryan Ramsower hit an RBI double to put the Lancers up 3-0.
After senior Michael Hoard walked to load the bases, junior Marcus Catalano and senior Adam Montano hit consecutive two-run doubles to give Salpointe a 7-0 lead.
"We're working on taking good hacks," Salpointe coach Danny Preble said. "Hit the ball where it's pitched. We're starting to head toward that peak where we want to be heading into the playoffs."
The Falcons (12-5-1) got out of the inning when junior Josh Goldberg replaced Alev and retired the first batter he saw.
Goldberg also put Foothills on the board when he hit a two-run shot to the left-center gap in the bottom half of the inning. The left-hander contained Salpointe's offense until it put together a three-run burst in the fifth inning.
Orozco struck out eight Falcons and allowed only six hits over six innings to improve to 3-2 in his first outing in almost two weeks.
"My change-up was pretty good today and my curveball was all right," Orozco said. "My fastball was my fastball."
Foothills was ranked a Southern Arizona-best eighth in the Division II seedings heading into the game, the first of five in a row against top 20 opponents.
The Falcons have three straight road games, starting with a trip to Sahuaro on Thursday. The Cougars were 10th in the rankings Tuesday night.
Sahuaro "is a big opponent," Baldwin said. "We've split with them this year. They beat us 4-3, and we beat them 2-1, so it should be a good battle."
Contact reporter Daniel Gaona at firstname.lastname@example.org or 807-7761. On Twitter @DanielGaona13