Sunday, September 23 , 2018, 12:46 am | Fair 60º

 
 
 
 
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Nicolas Bereaud, SBCC Baseball Break Out of Slump

With a little incense and a lot of power from Nicolas Bereaud, the SBCC baseball team found its offensive swagger on Friday and topped Sequoias 13-10 for its first win of the year.

Bereaud, a 6-3 sophomore from San Diego, ripped a grand slam in the first inning and added a solo shot in the fifth to tie the nonconference game at 7-7. He went 4-4 on the day with two homers, two doubles and seven RBIs.

 “Coach (Tyler) Heil has really been working with us on our approach,” said Bereaud, who walked in the eighth inning to reach base for the fifth time. “He always tells us to keep it simple and not try to do too much. Fortunately today, they left some pitches over the plate and I was able to do something with them.”

 After Sequoias (2-3) took a 1-0 lead in the first, the Vaqueros (1-5) loaded the bases with two outs on two walks and a fielder’s choice. The left-handed designated hitter Bereaud (pronounced Ber-ow) drilled the first pitch he saw over the 365-foot sign in right center.

 “He threw a fastball right down the middle,” Bereaud recalled. “We’ve really been struggling to score runs so I just wanted to put a good swing on it and try to get a couple runs. It just kind of ran into my bat and took off.

 “It’s clear that hitting is really contagious. It’s pretty obvious that if we can swing the bats together as a team, I don’t want to say we’ll be unbeatable but it will be tough to beat us. Our record doesn’t show what we’re capable of. If we keep swinging the bats like we did today, then it’s going to be a fun season.”

 After scoring just eight runs in their first five games, the Vaqueros erupted for season highs in runs (13), hits (14), homers (2) and doubles (4).

 Second baseman Chris Smutny went 3-4 with a triple, two RBIs and three runs and Jake Gagain was 2-3 with an RBI.

 “We pulled out our old bag of tricks, I stopped at Paradise Found and got some incense before the game,” said coach Jeff Walker. “We had a little séance with our bats to get rid of the bad ju-ju. The key was we got some big two-out hits.

 “Bereaud excited us early with his grand slam and two home runs. We were sitting around waiting for someone to do something and he stepped up. We got 14 hits and only struck out seven times, so we got into single digits which is good.”

 The Vaqueros snapped a 7-7 tie by scoring three times in the sixth on a two-run double by Bereaud and an infield error that brought home Collin Gairing.

The Giants pulled within a run at 10-9 when Oscar Reyes was hit by a pitch and came around to score on Treshon Holly’s groundout to short.

 Reyes doubled in his first three at-bats and finished 3-4 with three RBIs.

 The Vaqueros stretched the lead to 12-9 in the seventh on a two-out double by Alex Heim, an RBI triple by Smutny and an RBI single by Gagain.

 Steven Ledesma started for the Vaqueros and gave up seven runs on 12 hits with two strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings. Left-hander Austin Blessing threw 2 2/3 innings of two-hit, two-run ball to get the victory. Joseph Osegueda pitched the last two innings for his first save

 “Austin pitched well, then gave the ball to Joe for the last two innings,” noted Walker. “I thought Andrew Schatz, in his first college game, caught a good game behind the plate. Now we have a chance to win the series tomorrow.”

 Reid Feeley was touched for six runs on six hits in three innings as the Sequoias starter. Five pitchers followed him to the mound and gave up seven runs.

 The Vaqueros will host the Giants from Visalia in the finale of their three-game series on Saturday at 1 p.m.

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