COC’s Lopez strikes out 12 in win over Antelope Valley

Jacob Lopez (33) of College of the Canyons throws a pitch during a game against Antelope Valley College on Thursday, April 5, 2018. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

The word “Lopez” can mean two things.

For one, it’s the last name of a College of the Canyons pitcher. It’s also a word that means 12 strikeouts and six hits with no walks in seven innings.

“With Lopez going out there, we know we have a chance to win every day,” Cota said. “He was ‘Lopez’ again.”

The 6-foot-4 Saugus grad’s efforts pushed the Cougars to a 7-0 win over Antelope Valley College at COC on Thursday afternoon.

“I had a battle with a couple things. The ball was up, but we made some good plays in the outfield and we got through it,” Lopez said.

After three scoreless innings, Canyons’ offense started clicking when Josh Arkin hit an RBI double. Ryan Mendoza and Alberto Lopez each added RBI singles later in the frame to give the Cougars a 3-0 lead.

Josh Arkin (27) of College of the Canyons looks up to catch a ball in foul territory during a game against Antelope Valley College on Thursday, April 5, 2018. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

Calvin Estrada blasted a home run towards right field and over the fence to kick off the fifth inning. Then, with bases loaded, Valencia product Tyler Erne launched a two-run single to pull COC ahead 6-0.

“Three guys got in front of me, they got on base, so that was clutch,” Erne said, “and (I) just saw a curveball that I could hit and swung and it was the right spot at the right time.”

Nick Henry added an RBI single in the seventh inning for good measure.

The Marauders (15-15 overall, 3-7 in Western State Conference, East) were led by Blake Leidholdt, who went 2-for-3 with two singles.

Canyons’ win comes two days after an 8-0 loss to Antelope Valley. According to Erne, the Cougars toned things down offensively in order to recover from the loss.

“We changed our hitting mentality,” Erne said. “We were trying to hit too big so we decided to go back to the basics and just think of what we need to do, just get some runs across the board.”

COC (18-11, 7-3) will close out its three-game series against the Marauders on the road on Saturday.

“We’re going to go out there at their place and just be alive in the dugout and be supportive and get runs there,” Lopez said.

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