Bullpen Falters Late as Baseball Drops Home Opener Against Canyons

Photo by Dalia Joudi
Photo by Dalia Joudi

TORRANCE, Calif. – For eight innings, the El Camino College pitching staff held visiting College of the Canyons to just one run on four hits. But in the ninth, the Cougars offense got the best of the Warriors bullpen as ECC dropped a 9-6 non-conference decision Saturday afternoon at Warrior Field.

The Cougars (1-1) offense touched up the Warriors bullpen for eight runs on nine hits in the ninth and 10th innings alone to score the victory. Julian Diaz took the loss and the blown save on the bump for ECC as he gave up five runs on six hits in 1.2 innings pitched.

The ninth inning began with the Warriors ahead 4-1 but Will Chambers led off the frame with a double down the right-field line off reliever Joey Acosta, who had held the Cougars scoreless with just one hit in three previous innings of relief. Doyle King followed with a single to center to put runners on the corners and then Jesse Parraz trimmed the ECC lead to 4-2 with a sacrifice fly.

D.J. Kougher then doubled to left to score Kane and make it a 4-3 ballgame, putting an end to Acosta's day on the mound. Diaz came in to close things out but Tyler Grodell welcomed the Warriors closer with an RBI single back up the middle to knot the game up at 4-4. The Cougars would add a run later in the frame to take control of the game with a 5-4 advantage.

But the Warriors scrapped back in their half of the ninth as Benny Casillas worked a five-pitch walk and then Chris Villavicencio blasted a double deep to center field over Blake Mann's head, allowing Casillas to score all the way from first to tie things up and put the winning run in scoring position with no outs.

Diego Alarcon would ground out to second to advance the runner to third, but pitcher Ayden Alger got Tyler Wright to pop up to third and then Jimmy Galicia's line drive found shortstop Alex Ballesteros' glove to end the threat and send the game to extras.

But the Cougars offense continued to roll in the 10th, scoring four runs on three hits including a three-run homer from Kougher that put Canyons firmly in the lead.

The Warriors added a run in their half of the 10th but could not muster any more offense.

Three players tallied two hits on the day for the Warriors and Villavicencio drove in two runs to lead ECC. Julian Aguiar made his Warriors debut on the mound and pitched five solid innings in which he allowed one run on three hits while striking out seven.

The Warriors will return to action on Tuesday afternoon with a road contest against Cypress. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.