Vaqueros clinch tie for WSC North crown

Colby Morse and DJ Gunderson combined on a 3-hitter Saturday afternoon and SBCC scored three unearned runs in the ninth to beat Cuesta 5-2 and claim a share of the WSC North baseball title.

The Vaqueros (19-13, 13-5), ranked No. 13 in Southern Cal, lead No. 5 Cuesta (19-13, 11-7) by two games with two to play.

The victory in San Luis Obispo was the second straight and eighth in nine games for SBCC, which took the season series with Cuesta, 3-1. The WSC title is the Vaqueros’ first since 2007 and their third overall.

Robert Vickers led off the game with a solo homer and he and Cody Giordano each had two hits for SBCC, which clinched its first Southern Cal Regional berth since 2008.

“I’m just happy for the guys,” said first-year coach Ryan Thompson. “It’s a testament to what was laid down before us. I think we’re going to host a regional series but our work is far from done.

“I also want to praise the effort of our pitching coach, Justin Aspegren, and his staff. They had a lot to do with us winning the title.”

SBCC is first in the WSC and seventh in the state with a team ERA of 2.89.

Four of the five Vaquero runs were unearned thanks to three Cuesta errors.

Max Duvall hit a two-run homer for the Cougars in the first. SBCC tied it at 2 in the third on a double by Andrew Smith, a groundout and an error on the third baseman that brought in Smith.

Cuesta didn’t have a hit after the second inning and only two runners reached base in the last seven frames.

The Vaqueros sent nine batters to the plate in the ninth and scored three runs on one hit, two errors, two walks (one intentional) and a hit batter.

Smith reached on a one-out error and Vickers singled. Shay Maltese bunted and reached on a fielder’s choice with Smith scoring on an error.

The last two runs came home when Joey Epperson was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and Colt McLaughlin walked for another RBI.

SBCC will play nonconference games on Wednesday and Thursday at West L.A. and L.A. Pierce, respectively.

SBCC ………. 101 000 003 — 5 7 0
Cuesta …..… 200 000 000 — 2 3 3

Morse, Gunderson (8) and White; Christensen, Gerber (5), Haringa (9) and Lindmark. W–Gunderson 4-4. L–Gerber 7-3.
2B–SB: Smith. HR–SB: Vickers (2), 1st inn., none on. C: Duval (6), 1st inn., one on.