FRESNO — Defending champion Santa Rosa Junior College got off to a winning start in its state title defense with a 5-2 win Saturday against El Camino in the CCCAA baseball final four at John Euless Field at Fresno City College.
Justin Bruihl came on in relief and gave up three hits while striking out eight in five innings.
Ben Sanderson and Blake Berry had doubles to key a two-run second inning to give the Bear Cubs a quick lead.
El Camino tied the game with two runs in the fourth but SRJC reclaimed the advantage by scoring twice in the sixth, with Matt Kimora and Daniel Tesley getting the RBIs.
Berry’s RBI double in the eighth finished the scoring.
The Warriors tied the game in the fourth in Bruihl’s first inning on the mound, but he strung together zeroes after that. He improved his season record to 7-0.
Brihl 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 95 pitches against the highest-scoring team in the CCCAA.
The Bear Cubs racked up 11 hits in the game, including three by Sanderson, who went 3 for 4, and two from Teasley.
SRJC (36-9), the top seed in the North section, advanced to Sunday’s 2 p.m. championship semifinal against Grossmont, which beat Ohlone in Saturday night’s other semifinal game.
El Camino, the second seed in the South section, ended its season 39-10.