Zehner’s pop puts Vaqueros in front

Zach Zehner broke open a tight battle with a two-run homer in the eighth on Thursday and SBCC went on to beat Ventura 5-2 in a WSC North baseball game.
The visiting Vaqueros, playing their first game in eight days, improved to 13-16 overall and 6-7 in conference. Ventura fell to 16-13 and 6-7.

Joey Epperson went 3-4 with a triple and an RBI single in the first. The sophomore first baseman has at least one hit in 15 of his last 17 games. He’s 5-8 in his last two appearances, raising his team-leading batting average to .336.

Brendon Shoemake limited the Pirates to two runs on eight hits over six innings. He struck out three and walked one.

Lucas Benenati entered with a runner on first and no outs in the seventh. With runners on first and third, he got out of the jam on a rare forceout from left fielder Eli Michaels to second baseman Joey Gonzalez, a failed squeeze bunt and a flyout.

Benenati didn’t allow a hit over the last three innings to earn his fourth save. The freshman from Santa Barbara High lowered his ERA in WSC play to 1.71.

SBCC took a 3-1 lead in the sixth when Epperson tripled and scored on a two-strike single by Brandon Laubhan. Zehner hit his second homer in the eighth on a two-strike, two-out pitch that extended the lead to 5-2.

The Vaqueros will host Ventura on Saturday. The start time has been moved back to 2:30 p.m.

SBCC ………. 100 101 020 — 5 6 1
Ventura ……. 100 001 000 — 2 8 1
Shoemake, Benenati (7) and Dinges; Babola, Murray (9) and Burke. W–Shoemake 6-4. L–Babola 4-3. Save–Benenati 4.
3B–SB: Epperson. HR–SB: Zehner (2), 8th inn., one on.