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Canyons goes deep

Posted: April 11, 2008 1:34 a.m.
Updated: June 12, 2008 5:02 a.m.

College of the Canyon player John Hay slides into second base with a fourth-inning double during his team's 10-6 victory over L.A. Valley College on Thursday at home.

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It almost seems automatic at this point.

With the College of the Canyons baseball team's 10-6 win over visiting Los Angeles Valley College on Thursday, the Cougars have run off 18 wins in their last 20 games.

"We're throwing nine pretty tough outs at the plate right now," said COC head coach Chris Cota. "It's been a culmination of all nine guys taking good at bats over and over again."

But the win that put COC at 17-2 in the Western State Conference didn't come so easily at first.

In the first three innings, Monarchs starting pitcher Martin Sarabia cruised, allowing just two hits and facing two hitters over the minimum in that stretch.

But COC (23-8) bombarded Sarabia for eight runs on nine hits and one error in the fourth. All eight runs came with two outs.

"Whether it's the first or the ninth (inning) we can score runs," said Brian Charnock, who was 2-4 with three RBI. "We have a lot of talent on this team and we just get it done."

Brian Hernandez led off the inning with a single and took second on a wild pitch. The two hitters behind were outs and Luis Perez battled from being down 1-2 to a full count. He dropped a single into right field to score Hernandez from second base.

Dean Benavidez followed that up with an RBI double, and Charnock, a Hart graduate, came up next and hit a two-run single. Charnock's hit gave the Cougars a 4-3 lead, a lead they never lost.

Left fielder Tyreace House hit a two-run home run in that fourth frame and two batters later, Hernandez smacked a two-run homer of his own, his second hit of the inning.

"They had a major two-out nightmare," said L.A. Valley head coach Dave Mallas. "Our pitcher couldn't find a way to shut it down."

Sarabia was taken out one batter after Hernandez, after John Hay singled and reached second on an error. Sarabia gave up eight runs on 11 hits, struck out three and walked one.

For COC on the mound, starter Mike McCravey improved to 8-2 on the year and pitched seven solid innings.

He allowed three runs and two were earned. An error in the second inning led to L.A. Valley's first run of the game, and Brandon Ashford made it 3-0 in the top of the fourth with his two-run home run.

After the home run, McCravey retired 10 of the next 11 batters he faced to finish off his day against he Monarchs (20-15, 12-7).

"My curveball was really good, and actually my fastball coming off my curveball," said McCravey. "That's a good little one-two."

Cougars reliever Steve Burton, a Hart graduate, allowed a home run to Angel Nunez to lead off the eighth and Anthony DiGiacomo, a Canyon graduate, pitched the ninth for COC, giving up two solo home runs in the ninth. For the game, there were seven combined home runs.

But the Monarchs solo shots weren't enough to chip away at a COC lead that had reached 10 runs after two-run seventh inning for the Cougars.

Perez added a solo home run for the Cougars in the seventh. The three home runs by COC tied a single-game season-high. They also hit three homers on March 29 against Glendale College.

It's been a combination of good pitching performances, good hitting, and good defense for COC that as put them at 17-2 in conference play, keeping them at the top of the standings.

"Normally when you do those three things right you have a chance to win a ballgame," Cota said. "We've played exceptionally well in all three aspects of the game."


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