FRESNO, Calif. - Justin Bruihl gave up just three hits and struck out eight during his six innings of relief pitching on Saturday and second baseman Blake Berry had two doubles and 2 RBIs as defending state champion Santa Rosa Junior College beat El Camino, 5-2, in a first-round game at the 2017 California Community College Athletic Association Baseball State Championships at John Euless Field at Fresno City College.
The win sends the Bear Cubs into the championship semifinals at 2 p.m. on Sunday against the winner of Saturday evening's opening-round game between Grossmont (35-7-1) and Ohlone (42-5). Santa Rosa, the top seed from the North, improved to 36-9 while El Camino, the South's second seed, fell to 39-10.
Bruihl improved to 7-0 with the win, coming in after starter Jared Noonan went the first three innings. Bruihl set down seven in a row between the seventh and ninth innings, including five in a row by strikeout. He gave up just two runs and walked three while throwing in 95 pitches.
Santa Rosa jumped out to a 2-0 lead with a pair of runs in its half of the second, thanks to a doubles from Ben Sanderson and Berry. Not to be deterred, the Warriors evened the contest in the top of the fourth with two runs. An infield grounder plated Connor Underwood, who had walked and eventually moved to third. Noah Barba scored on a wild pitch for the second run.
The Bear Cubs took the lead for good with two runs in the sixth inning, putting together five singles in their first six at-bats of the frame. Shortstop Matt Kimora singled through the left side for the first run while Daniel Teasley singled up the middle for the second. Berry's eighth-inning double scored Teasley for the final run of the game.
Santa Rosa knocked out 11 hits, including three from Sanderson who went 3 for 4. Teasley had a pair of knocks.
El Camino had five hits, including two from shortstop Darian Sylvester. Catcher Trevor Casanova, third baseman Hunter Lewis and Barba each had one. Taylor Rashi took the loss loss for the Warriors, falling to 11-5. He highlighted El Camino's day with 11 strikeouts while scattering nine hits during his 123 pitches of work.
El Camino will face the loser of Saturday's later contest in an elimination game at 10 a.m. on Sunday. The tournament continues through Monday.