TORRANCE, Calif. - No. 2 El Camino College swept No. 4 Glendale College in two games after defeating the Vaqueros on Saturday afternoon, 7-3 at Warrior Field. This marks the second time in three seasons that the Warriors qualified for the CCCAA state championship tournament in Fresno.
While yesterday's game came down to the other side not executing on pitching, this game was more evenly matched. The Warriors (38-7) struck for three runs in the third inning before the Vaqueros (30-17) answered back with three runs of their own in the fifth inning. However, the Warriors were able to score four unanswered runs in the last two innings to keep preserve the 7-3 victory.
Aaron Orozco tossed another quality start for the Warriors but did not factor in the pitching decision. Orozco tossed 6.1 innings allowing three runs (two earned), eight hits, four walks, and fanned five batters. Julian Diaz picked up the win after allowing just one hit .2 innings of work but inducing a huge inning ending double play in the 7th inning. Spencer Long picked up the save after tossing two innings, giving up just one hit, one walk, and striking out five batters out of nine batters faced. The starter for Glendale, Kevin Holcomb was great on the mound tossing six innings, allowing three runs on four hits, four walks, and striking out eight batters. Reece Matheisen suffered the loss for the Vaqueros after giving up three runs (two earned) on two hits, one walk, and three strikeouts.
The Warriors were outhit 10 hits to 7 hits for the day. Jerry Granillo was 2-for-4 with two runs, three RBIs, and his first home run of the season. Joseph Borges continued his torrid postseason going 2-for-5 with two RBIs and one run. Taishi Nakawake was 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Spencer Long recorded the other hit. Hans Sao, Michael Choi, and Tom Tabak each picked up multiple hits for Glendale.
The Warriors struck first in the third inning. Matt Beserra led the inning off with a walk. Nakawake and Granillo hit back-to-back singles to score one run. Spencer Palmer walked to load the bases before Joseph Borges doubled to bring in two runs to make it a 3-0 game.
After stranding base runners at third base in the third and fourth inning, Glendale finally responded in the fifth inning. Tom Tabak led the inning off with a single, advanced on a wild pitch, and scored on a Zach Lafata single. A double by Hans Seo and a walk loaded the bases. Casey Slattery hit a sac fly to the foul territory of left field to score one run and advance the runner on second to third base. Before the inning ended, Michael Choi hit a hard grounder up the middle that Taishi Nakawake didn't field cleanly to tie the game up at 3-3.
Glendale threatened to score in the 7th inning of the game. After another Hans Seo hit and a free pass for Glendale, the Vaqueros had runners on 1st and 2nd and Orozco was pulled from the game. Julian Diaz entered and promptly gave up a single to load the bases. However, he was able to get the pinch hitter, Hayden Luff to ground into a 6-3 double play to end the frame and hand some momentum to the Warriors bench.
The Warriors cashed in on some defensive miscues in the 8th inning. Spencer Long started the inning by reaching first base on a slow chopper to the pitcher that the pitcher just dropped out of his glove. Long stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. He came around to score after Orozco hit a shallow sac fly to CF and on the throw, the catcher dropped the ball to make it a 4-3 game for the Warriors.
The Warriors added three more insurance runs in the ninth inning. Taishi Nakawake singled with one out. Jerry Granillo hit his first home run of the season over the right field wall on a crazy sequence. Facing a 3-1 count, he called for time after the pitcher was taking a long time to pitch, time wasn't granted, and Granillo proceeded to smack the ball over the short right field porch to make it a 6-3 game. Joseph Borges singled with two outs and advanced to second on a passed ball. Borges eventually scored on a fielding error by the Glendale third base man to make it a 7-3 game heading into the bottom half of the inning.
Glendale made things interesting in the bottom of the ninth inning. Long struck out the first two batters of the inning. Glendale proceeded to get the next three batters on base via a base hit, a hit batsman, and a walk to load the bases. However, Long quickly battled back and was able to strike out Hayden Luff to end the frame and send the Warriors to Fresno.
The Warriors advance and will take on defending CCCAA State Champions San Joaquin Delta on Saturday after the Mustangs defeated Los Medanos College in two games. In the other state final four matchup, the No.1 seed from Southern California, Orange Coast College, will face either Sacramento City College or Ohlone College.
There will be more information released through the week on the Warriors upcoming trip to Fresno for the CCCAA State Championship Tournament. Please continue to check the website and social media accounts: Twitter (@eccwarriors or @elcobaseball) and Instagram (eccwarriors) for more information.