The Saddleback baseball team opened a three-game series with a 15-6 win against Santa Barbara City College on Friday night at Doug Fritz Field. The Gauchos rapped out 14 hits in improving to 3-0 for the year.
Saddleback fell behind 4-1 in the top half of the third inning when starting pitcher Hunter Ash ran into some control problems. The starter was cruising before giving up a couple of hits, walking a batter and hitting another as the Vaqueros grabbed the momentum.
Saddleback stormed back in the bottom half of the third inning, scoring six times and sending 10 batters to the plate. The Gauchos had four hits in the inning, a walk, two hit batsmen and the luxury of a wild pitch in taking a 7-4 lead into the fourth inning. The big blow of the inning was a two-run double from Izaiah Faz, breaking a 4-4 tie.
Faz (pictured) would be right in the thick of things again in the bottom half of the fifth inning when he led off with a single and later came home on a single from Lance Gardiner. It was the third hit of the game for Faz as Saddleback would end up scoring three times in the inning to increase the lead to 10-4. Faz would later get hit by a pitch in the seventh inning and take a walk in the eighth inning, reaching base in all five plate appearances.
Saddleback finished with a 14-6 advantage in hits for the night, also taking advantage of seven walks and four hit batsmen from the Santa Barbara pitching staff.
Matt Comnos came on to pitch for Ash in the third inning and quickly quieted the Vaquero bats in picking up his first win of the year. Comnos would strike out six Santa Barbara hitters in pitching 2.1 innings in relief. Ethan Holt, Andrew Herbert and Eric Schumann would all get their chances out of the pen as Saddleback had it on cruise control over the final four innings. Schumann would finish off the ninth inning by striking out the side as the pitching staff finished with 16 strikeouts on the night, which was a season-high.
Saddleback (3-0) and Santa Barbara (2-1) will play a double-header on Saturday, starting at 1:00 PM.