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Mistakes Happen, COC Survives

Posted: February 29, 2008 10:53 a.m.
Updated: May 1, 2008 5:02 a.m.
COC's Aaron Mizak throws a pitch in the eighth inning of Thursday's game against Citrus College at home. COC's Aaron Mizak throws a pitch in the eighth inning of Thursday's game against Citrus College at home.
COC's Aaron Mizak throws a pitch in the eighth inning of Thursday's game against Citrus College at home.
The College the Canyons baseball team didn't exactly have a marquee game with its gloves against Citrus College on Thursday.

But luckily for the Cougars, they had enough firepower with their bats where it didn't matter.

They overcame five errors in the first five innings to defeat the visiting Owls 9-4.

The win allowed COC (6-7, 3-1) to avenge a loss to the Owls (8-8, 1-3) on Tuesday, who won via a walkoff homer at Citrus College.

"I think it's pretty simple," said Citrus head coach Steve Gomez. "They made quite a few errors early. We had five walks and didn't capitalize. Our middle relief, which has been very good, didn't throw very well."

Citrus starter Frank Moreno gave up four runs over his 5 1/3 innings, but reliever Matt Cole (1-2) took the loss by allowing four runs over his inning of work.

It was a four-run seventh inning by the Cougars that put the game out of reach for the Owls, along with a solid relief effort from Valencia graduate Aaron Mizak.

Mizak (1-0) earned the win in his first game on the mound for the Cougars. He didn't see any previous action this season because he was possibly going to redshirt. The freshman pitched four innings where he allowed just one hit and one run. He walked one batter and struck out three.

"When I went out there, usually you get an adrenaline rush," Mizak said. "I was so nervous I was going to mess up my redshirt that I didn't feel anything until the third inning."

The COC offense was able to back Mizak up after he gave up a run in the top of the seventh inning that tied the contest at 4-4.

After leadoff man Tyreace House grounded out in the bottom of the inning, the Cougars followed that with four straight singles.

Dean Benavidez, Julian Cruz, Canyon graduate John Hay and Kyle Harris all notched RBIs in the seventh.
Harris finished his day 1-for-4 with three RBIs, a run scored, and two sacrifice flies.

"We took a better approach in the second half of the game," Harris said. "We were more aggressive, we were taking more pitches and getting our pitch."

COC second baseman Brian Hernandez got his pitch in the bottom of the sixth, driving a 1-1 offering by Citrus starter Frank Moreno over the wall in left-center field. The Cougars added another run in that inning on an RBI single by Benavidez to take a 4-3 lead.

But after Mizak gave up an RBI single by Ryan Cornejo the following inning to tie the score, the right hander retired the last seven hitters of the game.

"Aaron was outstanding," said COC head coach Chris Cota. "We were very pleased with the way he pitched and he'll get a chance to pitch more."

Mizak's effort helped settle down a team that committed five errors, which led to the Owls scoring three runs in the first five innings. All of the fielding blunders happened behind Cougars' starter Mike McCravey, but only one of the three runs he gave up were earned over his five innings of work.

He gave up four hits, struck out five, walked four, and had two wild pitches.

"We struggled. We actually had our pitcher throw 35 to 40 pitches more than he needed to," Cota said. "Fortunately we held them down enough early so we could get our runs and beat them."


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