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Vaqueros rally past Bulldogs for 5-4 win in WSC opener

Shane Hersh tied the game at 4 with a two-run pinch-hit single with two outs in the sixth. He raised his batting average to .389. (Photo by Ken Sciallo / Sevilla Photography)
Shane Hersh tied the game at 4 with a two-run pinch-hit single to left with two outs in the sixth. He raised his average to .389. (Photo by Ken Sciallo / Sevilla Photography)

SBCC followed a familiar path to its sixth straight win on Tuesday when it fell behind in the first few innings, then rallied for a 5-4 win over Hancock in the WSC North baseball opener at Pershing Park.

The Vaqueros (10-7, 1-0) posted their third straight one-run victory and improved to 7-0 at home. Daniel Curiel had a two-run single in the second that gave the Bulldogs (7-11, 0-1) a 3-1 lead. They made it 4-1 in the fourth when Curiel delivered a two-out double to left, scoring Josh Harmonay.

SBCC got a run in the fifth when Andrew Schatz singled and Reinhard Lautz doubled him home with a shot over the right fielder's head with two outs. The Vaqueros tied it with two outs in the sixth when Blake Ogburn walked, Mason Harvey was hit by a pitch and Andrew Schatz walked to load the bases. Walker Armstrong moved from first base to pitcher and pinch-hitter Shane Hersh greeted him with a two-run single to left that made it 4-4.

"I was just trying to put the ball in play," said Hersh, a freshman from Nordhoff High who has a five-game hitting streak and raised his average to .389. "We're doing well right now and doing our jobs situationally. It's like the next-man up mentality. We've got a lot of guys who can help us win.

"No one panics when we get behind. I don't know if we're used to it, but I think our team just knows we're better. We know we're going to come back and compete for all nine innings."

Lautz went 2-3 and John Jensen was 2-4 for the Vaqueros, who've come from behind to win the last six games.

With one out in the eighth, Harvey reached on an error by the second baseman. Armstrong had him picked off, then bounced the throw past the first baseman and Harvey went to third. After Schatz struck out for the second out, Hersh hit a ball to Dylan Maiden at first base and he dropped it, then threw late for the third error of the inning that allowed Harvey to come home with the winning run.

"Sometimes when you play hard, good things happen," said Hersh.

Reece Elliott started for the Vaqueros and went five innings, giving up four runs on six hits with three strikeouts and two walks. Left-hander Steven Elliott pitched three scoreless innings of relief, allowing two hits and lowering his ERA to 0.55. David Appleby finished up in the ninth for his first save.

Hersh made a solid defensive play behind the bag at second base, fielding Nash Ackerman's grounder and throwing off-balance to first for the first out of the ninth inning. With two outs, Appleby gave up an infield single to Curiel (who was 3-4 with 3 RBIs) and a single to right by Quinntin Perez, then got Maiden on a comebacker, running the ball to first for the final out.

The Vaqueros will travel to Santa Maria for a rematch with the Bulldogs on Thursday at 2 p.m., then host Cuesta on Saturday at 1 p.m.