The Cougars plated three runs in the bottom of the eighth but could not complete the Opening Day comeback, as El Camino College scored two in the ninth to claim an 8-6 victory on Friday.
Canyons (0-1) knocked out 12 hits but was undone by fielding miscues with the Cougars charged with four costly errors on a cold and windy day at Cougar Field.
COC starter Chase Wheatcroft was charged with three earned runs in his four innings of work. Wheatcroft walked three and allowed five hits.
El Camino (1-0) seized a 4-0 lead in the top of third inning and then added two more in the following frame.
Canyons got on the board in the bottom half of third when leadoff man Cole Kleszcz singled to drive home Wes Felber.
In the fourth inning it was Felber’s turn to record an RBI, with the left fielder singling to bring home Chris May. In the fifth inning May doubled in a run to make it a 6-3 Warriors lead.
The Cougars put together a game-tying rally in the eighth, with shortstop Ivan Lomelli driving in Felber. Two batters later Anthony Medina singled in two more runs to tie the game at 6-6.
Even after the Warriors scored two runs to open up the ninth inning, COC still had a chance to win the game.
With two outs, Blake Doremus singled to bring up Felber, who promptly doubled. A walk by James Scanlan then loaded the bases before ECC pitcher Hunter Lewis was able to get Lomelli to ground out to end the game.
Felber finished the game 4-of-5 with a double, two runs and an RBI. May and Kleszcz recorded two hits and an RBI apiece.
COC relief pitcher Sean Ward (0-1) was charged with the loss.
Canyons and El Camino will conclude the two-game series on Saturday, Jan. 28. First pitch is scheduled for 12 p.m.
— Story and photos by Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information