SBCC scored five runs in the third inning on Tuesday and Mason Metcalfe provided strong relief for the last six innings of a 6-3 baseball win over Ventura at Pershing Park.
The Vaqueros (11-6, 3-1 WSC North) have won two straight and eight of their last 10. The Pirates fell to 6-11 and 1-6.
Santa Barbara racked up five runs on six hits (four singles, two doubles) in the third to take a 5-1 lead. Noah Williamson, Ryan Guardino and Jacob Bravo all singled to open the inning. Alonzo Rubalcaba drove a sacrifice fly to center, Kyle Froemke singled to the first baseman and Jarred Greene followed with a booming two-run double to right center for a 3-1 advantage.
Designated hitter Shane Hofstadler laid down a perfect suicide squeeze bunt to the right side and Froemke scored the fourth run. Trevor Davis brought Greene home with a double to right field.
“We had a big inning after falling behind early,” said SBCC coach Jeff Walker. “Mason was a little shaky at the start, then he settled in nicely. And we played good defense behind him.
“It doesn’t go big in the scorebook but Shane was 4-4 in quality at-bats even though he’s 0-0 in the book. He had a sac bunt, a squeeze bunt, a walk and a hit-by-pitch. That doesn’t go unnoticed by the team and the coaching staff.”
Greene went 2-3 with two RBIs and Guardino and Froemke were both 2-5. Guardino singled in the third and doubled in the fourth, extending his hitting streak to 15 games. He’s second in the WSC North with a .420 batting average.
Toby Spach, a hard-throwing right-hander who’s going to USC in the fall, was the “opening” pitcher for the Vaqueros. He gave up a first-inning run on an RBI single by Omar Gastelum and went three innings, allowing one run on three hits.
Metcalfe came in to start the fourth and Froemke, the third baseman, made a wide throw to first on the first batter. The next batter walked and Jacob Harris reached on a fielder’s choice bunt. Alejandro Soto delivered a sacrifice fly to center and Harris stole third and scored when Rubalcaba threw the ball down the left-field line. Both runs were unearned and the Vaqueros still led 5-3.
Metcalfe, a sophomore from San Marcos High, tossed the last six innings to improve to 4-1. He allowed two unearned runs on two hits with seven strikeouts and two walks. All seven strikeouts were caught looking at strike 3.
“When I first came in, I wasn’t comfortable and then I found my groove,” said Metcalfe. “I was trying to keep them off base.”
What’s the difference between coming in as a reliever and starting a game?
“The only difference is there’s going to be a hole next to the rubber and you could be facing middle, top or bottom of the lineup. When our team put up five runs, it made it easier for me because I could just tack up the fastball and make them put it in play. Put the pressure on them because we had a decent lead.”
The Vaqueros scored an insurance run in the seventh when Froemke singled to left, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Davis’ sacrifice fly to left.
The Vaqueros will play at Ventura on Thursday at 2 p.m., then host the Pirates again on Saturday at 1 p.m.