No. 8 College of the Canyons clubbed four home runs and sophomore starter Chase Wheatcroft cruised through seven innings to take a commanding 11-3 victory over Antelope Valley College at Cougar Field on Friday.
Canyons (19-10, 12-2) improved to 3-1 vs. the Marauders (10-20, 4-10) on the season to win the current three-game series. The Cougars dropped the opener on Tuesday, before winning back-to-back games on Thursday and Friday.
COC sophomore third baseman Calvin Estrada was the first to leave the yard with a two-run home run in the first inning that put the Cougars ahead 2-0 and set the tone for the rest of the game.
Sophomore outfielder Cole Kleszcz was the next to homer with a solo shot in the third. Later in the inning Estrada brought home another run to put the game at 4-1.
Estrada finished the day 1-for-3 with two runs and three RBIs.
Meanwhile, Wheatcroft (8-1) won his third straight start by limiting the Marauders to six hits over seven innings. The right-hander, who worked quickly throughout the day, walked one batter and struck out four.
AVC’s only scoring strike vs. Wheatcroft came by way of a solo home run from outfielder Frankie Linstrom in the top of the third inning that cut the COC advantage at 2-1.
Things settled down a bit on both sides until sophomore catcher Anthony Lepre blasted off on a home run to left field in the bottom of the sixth that made the score 5-1.
In the next inning, Lepre recorded a bases-clearing double to score Anthony Medina, Kleszcz and Senituli Taufahema. Chris May and Wes Felber also recorded RBIs in what turned out to be a five-run outburst for the Cougars.
Lepre was 2-for-3 with a walk, two runs and four RBIs on Friday.
Leading 10-1 in the eighth, Kleszcz was able to extend his arms for another home run swing that brought the score to 11-1. He finished the game 3-for-4 with four runs.
Kleszcz, who leads the team with 12 home runs, has been on fire vs. the Marauders. The freshman finished the three-game set 8-for-13 with five home runs, eight RBIs and eight runs scored. He also walked twice and stole two bases.
The Cougars have now won eight of their last nine games. COC remains a half game behind Glendale College (26-5-1, 12-2-1) in the Western State Conference (WSC), East Division standings.
Canyons is the No. 8 ranked team in Southern California according to the most recent California Community College Baseball Coaches Association (CCCBCA) poll.
The Cougars are also ranked No. 14 in this week’s California Community College Sports Information Association (CCCSIA) statewide poll.