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College of the Canyons baseball 2022 season opener vs. Saddleback College.

Canyons Baseball Opens 2022 Season with Home Loss

By Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information Director 

College of the Canyons hosted Saddleback College in its 2022 season opener on Thursday, successfully returning to play after a nearly two-year hiatus before falling by a 17-5 final score.

The two teams played a clean first frame as Canyons starter Scott Bauman was able to navigate through the first inning and escape undamaged thanks to a 6-4-3 double play that ended the initial Saddleback threat.

The Bobcats (1-0) pushed across two runs in the second inning on a home run from Luc Stuka and run-scoring double from Brent Riddle.

Two more Saddleback runs in the third inning chased Bauman from the game, but it was the Bobcats' eight-run fourth that broke the game wide open and left Canyons dealing with a 12-0 deficit. 

COC finally got on the board in the seventh when Ryan Camacho singled in Steven Gonzalez. The very next at-bat, Brandon Rainer brought home Andy Ambriz with another RBI-single making it a 16-2 ballgame.

Canyons (0-1) plated two more in the eighth after Ambriz drove home a run and Greg Hall followed with a two-run single, providing a bright spot in what was a disappointing result for the Cougars.

COC employed six pitchers in the game. Bauman (0-1) took the loss after surrendering four runs on four hits and a walk, but the remaining runs were spread among multiple relievers. Brandon Whiting pitched a clean ninth inning to close out the 17-5 affair. 

Saddleback starter Connor Wilford (1-0) allowed just three hits in his six innings of work, with three strikeouts to collect the win. 

Stuka ended the day 4-of-5 with four runs and three RBIs for the Bobcats, including the home run. Tyler DeClusin also turned in a four-hit day with two runs and a pair of RBIs. 

Saddleback drew nine walks in the game and were aided by a pair of Canyons errors. 

Ambriz finished the game 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI for the Cougars. Rainer was 2-for-3 with an RBI.

Gonzalez ended with two walks and a pair of runs in the losing effort. Alex Ballesteros was 1-for-5 at the plate but made a number of sharp plays from the shortstop position. 

Canyons had last played a regular season contest on March 9, 2020 just days before the postponement and eventual cancellation of the season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. COC did not compete in 2021.

The Cougars and Bobcats will go at it again at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 29 in Mission Viejo. Spectators will not be allowed at the Saddleback venue. 

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 TwitterInstagramFacebook and YouTube

— Photo by Mari Kneisel/COC Sports Information