Epperson goes 4-4 in 8-2 victory

Joey Epperson was a perfect 4-4 with two RBIs on a windy Thursday and Chris Joyce struck out 11, leading SBCC to an 8-2 baseball win over Oxnard in its regular-season finale at Pershing Park.

Epperson had two singles, a double and a triple for the Vaqueros (22-14, 15-5), who won 10 of their last 11 conference games to secure their first WSC North title since 2007.

Epperson reached base in all five at-bats and scored three runs.

“My teammates let me know that I was close to hitting for the cycle,” said Epperson, a freshman first baseman from Lafayette, Calif. “With the wind the way it was and the type of hitter I am, I wasn’t trying to hit any homers.”

Epperson drove in Santa Barbara’s first run with a wind-blown triple in the first and the last one with an RBI single in the eighth. Colt McLaughlin, who batted one spot behind Epperson in the cleanup position, went 2-3 with two walks and two runs scored.

The 3 and 4 spots in the Vaquero batting order reached base in nine of 10 at-bats and scored five runs. Chito Elias, the No. 5 hitter, had two of the Vaqueros’ 12 hits.

SBCC, ranked No. 9 in Southern Cal, led 4-0 after three innings in support of Joyce, who improved to 6-0 by holding the Condors to one run on four hits in seven innings. Joyce struck out 11, walked four and hit a batter.
Joyce, a southpaw from Dos Pueblos High, moved into second in the state with 88 strikeouts. His teammate Kylin Turnbull is sixth with 82.

“The nice thing about today is there’s a few things we could have done better and we still won 8-2,” said Epperson. “We’ll make a couple of improvements next week. For us, it doesn’t end with us taking 3-of-4 from every team in conference or with winning the conference. It ends with us taking a state championship in Bakersfield and that’s what we’re all striving for.”

SBCC has won its last five home games by a combined score of 30-10.

“It was a tough day to hit with the wind (that was really howling in the fifth and sixth innings),” said coach Ryan Thompson. “We did a good job of staying mentally focused.”

The Vaqueros open play in the Southern Cal Regional on Friday, May 6 with a home game at 2:30 p.m. The opponent in the best-of-3 series will be announced on Sunday.

Oxnard ……. 000 010 010 — 2 7 1
SBCC …..….. 202 010 21x — 8 12 1

Barraso, Diaz (6), Carpenter (8) and Esqueda; Joyce, Alvarez (8), Perry (9) and White, Trevino (9). W–Joyce 6-0. L–Barraso 4-6.
2B–O: White, Yallen. SB: Epperson. 3B–SB: Epperson.-