By Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information Director
After clawing its way back to within a pair a runs, College of the Canyons couldn’t get any closer, instead dropping a 17-9 decision to conference rival Citrus College at Cougar Field on Wednesday.
Canyons (11-8, 2-1) trailed 9-2 heading into the home half of the sixth but quickly got back into the game on RBIs from Calvin Estrada and Tyler Erne. A solo home run from Ryan Mendoza followed, putting the score at 9-5 and temporarily swinging momentum in COC’s favor.
The Cougars pushed across three more runs in the eighth, highlighted by RBI singles from Senituli Taufahema and Trace Eldridge which cut the Owl’s lead to 10-8, and signaled the possibility of a COC comeback.
Taufahema finished the day 2-for-4 with a run and two RBIs. He currently leads the club with 28 hits, while his .431 batting average is best in the Western State Conference.
Eldridge also had a nice day at the plate, going 2-for-5 with a double and two RBIs.
The comeback bid was quickly stifled, however, as Citrus (13-7, 3-0) responded with a backbreaking two-out rally that resulted in seven runs and a 16-8 advantage.
Estrada powered a two-out solo home run, his team-leading fifth of the season, to straight away center field in the ninth, but the Cougars were still forced to swallow the 17-9 home loss. The sophomore outfielder was 1-for-4 with a walk, two RBIs and a pair of runs.
Cougar starting pitcher Eddie Rosales (0-1) took the loss after working his way through five innings. The freshman allowed eight runs on eight hits and two walks.
COC is now 10-2 at Cougar Field on the year. The loss also dropped Canyons down to second place in the WSC, East Division standings, a game behind Citrus and co-leader Glendale College (14-9, 3-0).
COC is currently the No. 9 ranked team in Southern California, according to the most recent California Community College Baseball Coaches Association (CCCBCA) poll, released on Tuesday. Citrus entered at No. 10 followed by No. 11 Glendale.
The Cougars will continue the first round of conference play with a road trip to Glendale at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday.
Stay up to date on all this season’s action by following the College of the Canyons Athletic department on social media at @COCathletics on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.