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COC baseball in early hole at Super Regional

Posted: May 10, 2013 9:48 p.m.
Updated: May 10, 2013 9:48 p.m.

The College of the Canyons Cougars baseball team couldn’t find an answer for Saddleback College Gauchos pitcher Evan Manarino on Friday.

Manarino kept a no-hitter going until the ninth inning, when COC’s Ivan Vela doubled to lead off the inning for the Cougars’ only hit of the game.

As a result, COC finds itself in a hole in the double elimination California Community College Athletic Association Southern Super Regional after Friday’s 7-0 loss to the Gauchos at Saddleback College.

“He was a lefty that was able to cut the ball in on right handers and run it away from right handers and was very effective,” said COC head coach Chris Cota. “Our guys had some trouble squaring him up.”

Manarino finished with six strikeouts in nine innings, allowing just one hit and one walk.

In contrast, COC starting pitcher Ryan Cruz wasn’t nearly as effective.

Cruz allowed seven earned runs and 12 hits in six innings of work.

The damage began in the third, when Saddleback scratched across three runs on a fielder’s choice RBI by Brandon Cody, RBI sacrifice fly by Noah Graham and RBI singles by Mitchell Holland.

Cody finished 3-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI.

Noah Graham was 1-for-2 with two RBIs.

The defense didn’t exactly help Cruz much either, committing two errors in the inning and five in the game.

“When you get to this point you can’t really give anybody extra outs,” Cota said. “You’re playing a team that’s got their ace on the mound. “You’re at their yard and you kick the ball around, it’s going to hurt you.”

The Gauchos padded their lead by scoring two in the fifth and two in the sixth to further bury a Cougars team that couldn’t get anything going at the plate.

COC’s Chad Bennett and Winston Lavendier were effective in relief, each tossing one shutout inning.

But it was far too little too late, and now COC faces elimination.

The loss sends COC, the No. 7 seed in the Super Regional, into the loser’s bracket where it will play No. 6 seed Cypress today at 10 a.m. in an elimination game.

“It’s a tough road for anybody if you lose the first game,” Cota said. “For us, we have to win four games to move on to the championship its not going to be easy, but I have all the confidence in the world.”

Should the Cougars advance, they would face the winner of Saddleback College and Mt. San Antonio at 6 p.m.

The championship series is scheduled for Sunday at 11 a.m.

Steven Farnworth is expected to take the mound in the first game for Canyons.




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