TORRANCE, Calif. – Trailing by two runs in the bottom of the ninth, No. 3 El Camino College sent seven batters to the plate and scored three times to stun East Los Angeles, 5-4, Tuesday afternoon in a South Coast Conference game at Warrior Field.
The Warriors (16-3, 4-2) never led in the game against the Huskies (9-11-1, 2-3-1), trailing by as many as three runs through four-and-a-half innings. The Warriors scored twice in the fifth inning to trim the deficit to a run but the Huskies tacked on a run in the top of the ninth for some insurance.
In the bottom of the ninth, Spencer Long led things off with a single that found its way just over the shortstop and into shallow left-center to give ECC a leadoff runner.
That marked the end of starting pitcher Steven Villagran's day on the bump. Prior to that, he had allowed just two earned runs on seven hits and struck out nine batters.
Reliever Alex Castellanos came in and was promptly greeted by Ty Conrad with a single through the left side to put the potential game-tying run on base.
The first big event of the inning came on the next hitter as catcher Sladen Mohl attempted to lay down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners over. After fouling off the first pitch, he appeared to bunt the second pitch straight down and onto the plate.
Huskies catcher Gabriel Jimenez attempted to pounce on the ball and get the lead runner at third and possibly start a double play, but the play was ruled foul by the home-plate umpire.
Mohl would strike out but the Warriors dodged a possible double play and then Taishi Nakawake drew a walk to load the bases with just one out.
Troy Maki was then summoned to pitch for the Huskies and he promptly pelted Logan Young with the first pitch to force in a run and make it 4-3.
First baseman Spencer Palmer then came all the way back from an 0-2 count to draw a walk and tie things up at four apiece.
Joseph Borges would then step up and, with the infield in, he hit a grounder to second. Anthony Soto came to home plate with his throw, which beat Nakawake to the plate. But the umpire ruled Jimenez's foot was off the plate and Nakawake was ruled safe to give the Warriors the improbable walk-off victory.
It was Borges' only RBI of the day. Aaron Orozco led the offense as he went 3-for-4 while Conrad and Mohl each recorded two hits apiece.
Garrett Spicuzza picked up his first victory of the season in relief as he tossed one and 2/3 innings, allowing one run on three hits with two strikeouts. Max Pappas had some tough luck in his start as all three runs he allowed were unearned. He went seven a 1/3 innings and allowed 10 hits with six strikeouts en route to a no-decision.
The Warriors will return to action Thursday afternoon as they hit the road to take on Pasadena. First pitch is set for 2:30 p.m.