El Camino College overcame an early deficit to pick up an impressive road victory over College of the Canyons Friday afternoon in the 2019 season opener at Cougar Field.
The Warriors (1-0) had four pitchers combine to hold the Cougars (0-1) to just three runs and seven hits while striking out a combined 10 batters. Sophomore Spencer Long picked up the victory as he pitched a scoreless bottom of the ninth while striking out two.
Aaron Orozco had a solid debut for the Warriors, making the start and going five innings. He allowed one unearned run on three hits. He walked three and struck out seven.
Offensively, the Warriors were led by the top of the order as Ty Conrad, Long and Spencer Palmer combined for five hits and drove in all five runs. Conrad, who missed last year after suffering a season-ending injury in the first game of the year, returned with a flourish as he went 3-for-4 with two RBI including an RBI double that broke a 3-3 tie in the ninth inning. Long added the insurance with a sacrifice fly to make it 5-3 in the ninth and Palmer finished the day 2-for-4 with a double and RBI.
The Warriors fell behind early as the Cougars scored in their half of the first thanks to an error in right field, allowing Kyle Soberano to score from first on a single.
But ECC responded in the third as Long recorded his first sacrifice fly of the day, flying out to center allowing Sladen Mohl to come in and tie things up.
The Warriors took a 3-1 lead in the fifth on an RBI single from Conrad and a sacrifice fly from Palmer.
In the sixth, the Cougars got one run back on an RBI single from catcher Nick Henry.
It stayed 3-2 until the bottom of the eighth when the Cougars rallied off Warriors freshman Julian Diaz in his first career appearance. The Cougars rattled off two straight singles to lead off the frame and then Max Mehlbaum walked to load the bases with no one out.
Tyler Erne tied things up with a sacrifice fly to center field but then Diaz induced a 4-6-3 double play to get out of the inning without further damage, keeping the game tied 3-3 heading to the ninth where the Warriors would pull ahead for good.
Both teams will return to action Saturday afternoon in the Warriors' 2019 home opener. First pitch is set for noon.