L.A. Pierce overcomes Vaqueros, Epperson

Joey Epperson went 4-for-5 with two doubles on Wednesday but SBCC couldn’t overcome six errors and six walks in a 7-6, 10-inning baseball loss to L.A. Pierce at Pershing Park.

“This was a hard loss but fortunately we have two more games this week,” said Epperson, a sophomore first baseman from Orinda, Calif. “We’re making mistakes and we’re a team that doesn’t make mistakes. … We’re walking guys and making errors but we’re going to get better.”

Brandon Laubhan was 2-4 with three RBIs for the Vaqueros (4-6), who dropped their second straight one-run game.

Santa Barbara jumped ahead 2-0 on Laubhan’s two-run double down the right-field line in the first. The Brahmas (3-7) scored in three straight innings and took a 6-3 lead in the top of the sixth.

Mark Jebbia started the Vaquero comeback with an RBI single in the sixth. Epperson doubled and scored on Zach Zehner’s single to cut the deficit to 6-5 in the seventh. Jebbia and Steven Reveles had two hits apiece.

In the bottom of the ninth, Joey Gonzalez singled with one out and Laubhan delivered a clutch two-out RBI single to tie it at 6-6. SBCC closer Shane Turner came on to start the 10th and gave up two walks and a run-scoring double to Matt Sanchez.

Pat Cavalier walked to start the SBCC 10th and went to second on a sacrifice bunt. Matt Lloyd pinch-ran for him but was left at second when Jared Dinges flied to left and Jebbia struck out looking.

The Vaqueros committed six errors, leading to four unearned runs. Brendon Shoemake pitched the first 4 1/3 innings, allowing five runs (one earned) on four hits with five strikeouts and four walks.

Lucas Benenati, a freshman from Santa Barbara High, held the visitors to one run on four hits over 4 2/3 innings, striking out six and walking none.

“That’s the first time all year that our defense hasn’t played catch,” said coach Jeff Walker. “Shoemake was short-rested by a day and didn’t have his ‘A stuff’ but pitched well enough to keep us in the game.
“Lucas gave us a big pick-me-up. We were down by two and he kept us in it and allowed us to battle back and tie it in the ninth.”

Three SBCC pitchers combined for 13 strikeouts. Shoemake got all five of his strikeouts with the batter looking at strike 3. Benenati fanned five in a row at one point.

“We had a lot of good individual performances but too many negative individual performances,” Walked added. “We have to a better job of playing together as a team.”

The Vaqueros will play Irvine Valley in a two-game series, starting Thursday in Irvine. The teams will clash again on Friday at Pershing, starting at 2 p.m.
(10 innings)
L.A. Pierce ……. 000 321 000 1 — 7 9 1
SBCC ………….. 200 101 101 0 — 6 13 6
Torres, Mackey (8), Pedicure (10) and Koll; Shoemake, Benenati (5), Turner (10) and Eaton, Dinges (9). W–Mackey 1-1. L–Turner 0-1. Save–Peddicord 2.
2B–P: Hymes 2, Sanchez. SB: Epperson 2, Laubhan.