SBCC got two runners on base in five separate innings on Friday, including the eighth and ninth, but couldn’t find any timely hits in a 1-0 baseball loss to Chaffey at Pershing Park.
The Vaqueros (9-6) had their three-game winning streak snapped after going 0-10 with runners in scoring position. Center fielder Sergio Ramirez, the No. 8 hitter, produced the game’s only run with a one-out homer to left in the fifth inning.
The Vaqueros got runners to first and second in the eighth and ninth on four walks by reliever Tyler Tilton. Pinch-hitter Zach Jensen walked on a 3-1 pitch with two outs in the ninth and Ryan Guardino lined out right at the second baseman to end the game. A couple of inches left or right and the Vaqueros probably would have tied it.
Blake Corsentino and Elias Jauregui staged a classic pitcher’s duel with each team managing just four hits.
Corsentino turned in his longest outing as a Vaquero, going 7 2/3 innings before left-hander Colby Downard came on in the eighth with runners on first and second and got Jeovanni Delgado to fly out to center on the first pitch.
“If the top of our lineup isn’t producing, the bottom of our lineup is not picking up the slack,” said Vaquero coach Jeff Walker. “The guys that are guys that we expect to be guys — you know, Alonzo, Froemke, Bravo — if they don’t produce, then the bottom-end guys have got to pick us up and they didn’t.
“One of those guys in the 1 through 4 spots has to produce. Ryan Guardino did his job by getting on base, it was just the guys behind him. We didn’t have enough quality at-bats in a row.”
Guardino, the Vaqueros’ leadoff hitter from San Marcos High, tripled to right center to open the bottom of the first. Kyle Froemke hit a grounder to the third baseman and Guardino broke for home but was an easy out at the plate.
“We had a negative at-bat by Froemke,” said Walker. “The middle was playing back and he hooks a grounder to third, then we compound it with a baserunning error. If he stays put, there’s one out with our 3-4 coming up and the middle infielders are probably still back.”
Thirteen was Guardino’s lucky number on Friday. He’s hit safely in all 13 games he’s played this year and he’s 13th in the state in batting average (.433). He’s also fourth in stolen bases with 13 steals in 14 attempts. He reached base three times on a triple, a fielder’s choice in the fifth and a walk in the eighth. He stole second base and Froemke followed with a walk in the fifth. Jacob Bravo grounded out to second to end the threat.
“We need the top of our lineup to show up (the top four hitters were 2-13),” said Walker. “We have a catcher (Alonzo Rubalcaba) who’s going to Kentucky and he can’t hit a guy that’s throwing fastballs up there. Our third baseman (Froemke) is going to Oregon State and he has a negative at-bat with no outs and a runner at third. Those guys are guys and they need to show it. I know they can’t do it every single day but when someone’s having an off-day, we need someone else to step up and pick them up.
“This was a big win for them and they were super excited to come in here. I don’t think our guys realized that enough, how big it was for them. We’ll get back at it tomorrow and we’ll be fine.”
The same teams will battle on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Pershing Park.