College of the Canyons improved its record to 3-0 vs. Western State Conference (WSC), East division opponents with an 11-3 road win at Antelope Valley College on Tuesday.
Canyons (10-8, 3-0) received a big boost from freshman lefty Jacob Lopez who earned the win after tossing eight innings, allowing three runs and striking out six. The win was the freshman's first of the season.
COC's lineup helped Lopez along to the tune of 14 hits, including a two-run home run from sophomore catcher Anthony Lepre, who also finished the day with four RBIs.
Lepre put Canyons on the board with a first inning sacrifice fly that brought leadoff man Cole Klezcz around to score.
In the third, the Cougars scored an unearned run on a throwing error by the Marauder pitcher which cashed in Senituli Taufahema's lead off double. Later, Lepre's RBI single scored Klezcz once again. Two batters later Chris May drove home another run to put COC in front 4-0.
Anthony Medina's RBI double in the fifth put Lopez and the Cougars comfortably ahead at 5-0.
Antelope Valley (6-13, 0-3) struggled to get a beat on Lopez throughout the contest, aside from a three-run six inning in which the Marauders scored on a wild pitch and later came up with a two-run double to make it a 5-3 ballgame.
But Lopez quickly shook that off by striking out two AVC batters in the seventh and allowing just one hit the rest of the way.
It was more Canyons in the eighth inning with Kris Keach, Ivan Lomeli and Blake Doremus all driving home runs in the inning to make it 8-3 and put more pressure on AVC's already active bullpen. The Marauders were forced to use seven different pitchers on Tuesday.
Lepre hit his team-leading sixth home run in the top of the ninth, a two-run shot that drove home Kleszcz for the third time in the game. Kleszcz finished 3-for-4 with three doubles and four runs.
Lomeli then added to the Marauder deficit with another RBI of his own, for the 11-3 final.
Connor Dreyer pitched a scoreless ninth inning for the Cougars
Lomeli finished the game 2-for-5 with two RBIs. May went 3-for-5 with a run and an RBI.
Canyons next travels to Citrus College on Thursday, March 16, for a 2:30 p.m. start time.
The Cougars return home to host Glendale at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 18.