Santa Barbara baseball players chase teammate Zane Lee-Paulick to dump the water cooler on him after he scored the game-winning run to beat Ventura. Credit: Lisa Ishikawa photo

Zane Lee-Paulick doubled in the tying run and scored the game winner on a passed ball, lifting the Santa Barbara High baseball team to a 4-3 victory over Ventura in a Channel League opener on Friday at Eddie Mathews Field.

With Ventura leading 3-2, Lee-Paulick doubled home Dane Dawson, who drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the seventh. 

Zane Lee-Paulick scores the game-winning run on a passed ball as teammate Cal Wipf celebrates. (Lisa Ishikawa photo).

The Cougars intentionally walked Kai Mault and Michael Firestone drew a walk to load the bases after being down 0-2 in the count.

“We put these guys in the exact situations we were in today and they trusted their preparation and performed,” said Santa Barbara coach Steve Schuck.

With Pepperdine-bound Cal Wipf at the plate, Lee-Paulick scored the winning run when a pitch got away from the Ventura catcher.

The Dons’ dugout erupted and the players chased down Lee-Paulick and dumped the water cooler on him.

Lee-Paulick reached base three times in the game. Liam Keithley went 2 for 3 to lead Santa Barbara’s offense. The Dons stole five bases.

“I’m really happy how we competed and did not give at-bats away,” said Schuck.

Eric Anthony started on the mound for the Dons and went the distance. He allowed three runs (one earned) on six hits and one walk. He struck out six.

“He is learning how pitch and every outing he is getting better. Not much bothers him which is a great trait,” said Schuck.

The Dons (3-4, 0-1) committed two errors that allowed Ventura to score two unearned runs.

Left fielder Zeke Adderley threw a runner out at the plate to keep the Dons within one run.

“It was a beautiful throw and Zane did a great job receiving it, holding his ground and applying the tag,” said Schuck.

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Barry Punzal, Sports Editor

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