Cypress, CA - Cypress College (0-1) could not overcome a late five-run rally by El Camino (3-1) as the Chargers suffered a shocking 6-5 loss in their season opener. The first time the Chargers have lost a season opener since the 2001 sesason (L, 3-4 vs. Pasadena).
Taylor Pierce (0-1) went the distance and threw eight strikeouts but surrendered five runs while El Camino's Natalie Francis (2-0) surrendered five runs for her second win of the season. Tobi Salzman and Jenny Vazquez led the Chargers with three hits and two RBI apiece. El Camino's Maleigha Quintero answered with three hits and two RBI of her own.
At the bottom of the first inning with two outs, the Chargers drew first blood when catcher Jezz Portillo launched a base-clearing triple with runners on first and second to give Cypress a 2-0 lead. The Chargers continued to pad their lead in the bottom of the second when sophomore Tobi Salzman slapped a single to center field to advance sophomore Justice Walker from second to home to make it 3-0.
El Camino got on the board at the top of the third with runners on first and third when Brigid Antonelli attempted to steal second. Portillo attempted the throw at second and El Camino's Vanessa Gutierrez seized the opportunity to run from third to home. Antonelli retreated back to first safely.
In the bottom of the third with Vasquez on first, Cypress SS Allyson Painter advanced the runner from first to third on a sacrifice bunt. Nicole Wise grounded a single to left field to bring Vasquez home to regain the three-run lead. Later in the sixth inning, Salzman followed up Justice Walker's triple with an RBI single to make it 5-1 for the Chargers.
Carrying a comfortable lead into the final inning, things turned for the worse for the Chargers. After surrendering a base hit and two consecutive walks to load the bases with one out, Pierce surrendered a base-clearing triple and saw the lead cut down to one. After walking Kattya Calderon, Pierce managed to strike out Natalie Francis for the second out. However, Kammy Fisher looped a single to right field to score both runners to give El Camino a 6-5 lead. Pierce struck out a swinging Kassandra Hernandez to get out of the inning, but the damage was already dealt.
The Chargers will look to bounce back on Saturday, February 6 when they host the Rio Hondo Roadrunners at 10:30 AM followed by a 2:30 PM game against College of the Canyons.
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