FRESNO, Calif. - The El Camino College Warriors rallied back from a 3-1 deficit to score four unanswered runs in a 5-3 win over the defending state champions, San Joaquin Delta in the opening game of the CCCAA State Championship Final Four on Saturday morning.
After the Warriors (39-7) were trailing the Mustangs (39-8) for three innings since the second inning, the El Camino bats responded with two runs in the sixth inning to take a 4-3 lead and pushed across an insurance run in the ninth inning to make it a 5-3 game.
Jimmy Galicia picked up his fourth consecutive postseason win after tossing 6.2 innings and allowing three runs on seven hits, two walks, and fanning four batters. Spencer Long slammed the door on the Mustangs in relief, pitching for the last 2.1 innings and struck out five batters and faced just two batters over the minimum. Kevin Kyle suffered the loss for the Mustangs. He allowed four runs on eight hits, two walks, and struck out seven batters.
The Warriors had ten hits for the day. Seven of the batters in the starting lineup had at least one hit. Ty Conrad and Matt Beserra each had multi-hit games. Beserra swatted his third home run of the year for a solo blast over the LF wall in the 4th inning.
The Warriors took the first lead of the game in the second inning. Ty Conrad led the inning off with a base hit. He advanced to second and third off a wild pitch and an errant throw by the catcher on the play. Matt Beserra scored him with a base hit up the middle to make it a 1-0 game for the Warriors.
San Joaquin Delta responded right away in the bottom half of the inning. The state leader in home runs, Vinny Bologna hit a bomb over the LF wall to make it a 1-1 game. The Mustangs proceeded to load the bases with no outs on a walk, single, and hit by pitch. A sac fly by Kevin Fitzgerald made it a 2-1 game. Thomas Greely had an infield single on a popped up push bunt that no Warrior could make a play on give the Mustangs a 3-1 lead before Galicia could finally get out of the inning.
The Warriors pegged one run back in the top of the fourth after Matt Beserra hit a moonshot over the left center wall to cut the lead to one and make it a 3-2 game.
The Warriors finally regained the lead in the sixth inning. Ty Conrad and Aaron Orozco led the inning off with base hits. Logan Young hit a pinch-hit single into right field that scored Conrad and advanced Orozco to third base. Taishi Nakawake hit a sac fly to right field to score Orozco and make it a 4-3 game for the Warriors.
Jimmy Galicia was able to get two outs in the 7th inning after allowing the lead-off man on base off a base hit. The Mustangs were able to get runners on the corners with two outs when Spencer Long was summoned. Long was able to punch out the 3-hole batter to end the threat from the Mustangs.
The Warriors tacked on one insurance run in the 9th inning. Spencer Palmer doubled off the LF wall with two outs. Joseph Borges followed up with a double of his own into shallow LF to make it a 5-3 game.
The Mustangs had a man reach the bases with one out in the 9th inning. He got as far as second base but Long was able to strike out the side to hand the Warriors the opening game victory over San Joaquin Delta.
The Warriors will now await the winner of the game between SoCal No.1 Orange Coast College and NorCal No.4 Sacramento City College. With Sundays games likely being cancelled due to the threat of rain, the Warriors will face off in Game #4 of the tournament which is scheduled for 2:00 PM on Monday as of now.