The 16th-seeded Vaqueros (23-16) managed just two hits off Kimmie Lockhart and had their five-game win streak snapped. The top-seeded Cougars (38-2-1) won for the 15th straight time.
The second game of the best-of-3 series is set for Sunday at noon at Canyons, followed by a third game if necessary.
Santa Barbara took a 1-0 lead in the fourth when Kylie Onstott stole third and scored on a passed ball. Adriana Correa, the Southern Cal leader in homers, hit her 18th to lead off the bottom of the fourth, igniting a five-run uprising.
The Vaqueros cut the deficit to 5-2 in the fifth when Bryn Thompson was hit by a pitch and Lockhart walked two batters. Kayla Dormer got an infield single to the hole at shortstop, bringing in Thompson.
SBCC ………. 000 100 0 — 2 2 4
Canyons …… 000 502 x — 7 7 1
Acosta, Harris (5) and Larabell; Lockhart and Droege. W–Lockhart 23-1. L–Acosta 11-6.
HR–C: Correa (18), 4th inn., none on.
Records–SB 23-16; COC 38-2-1.