CBB: Gilbert is sharp; SBCC wins season opener

Tyler Gilbert tossed four-hit ball for 6 2/3 innings on Friday and SBCC took advantage of six Napa Valley errors to post a 9-3 victory in the season opener at Pershing Park.

Gilbert, a 6-3 left-hander who was last year’s WSC North Pitcher of the Year, allowed one run on four hits and struck out six. The Vaqueros scored six unearned runs in the fourth and fifth innings to take a commanding 8-0 lead.

“I was pretty confident coming in and it worked out well,” said Gilbert, who threw mostly fastballs. “My splitter was working in the beginning. I only threw a few curveballs and those fell in for strike 3 calls.

“I wasn’t happy about giving up that run in the seventh but I’m still happy with the way it went. Our defense was really solid.”

All of the Vaquero starters were freshman with the exception of Gilbert.

Right fielder Christopher Player went 2-3 with an RBI and left fielder Connor McManigal drove in two runs. Leadoff hitter Cameron Jones singled with two on and two out in the fourth and came all the way around to score after the left fielder made two errors on the play.

SBCC added three runs in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by McManigal, followed by Trey Barrett’s single to left. James Brakka and Patrick O’Brien both scored on the play after the ball got past the outfielder.

“There were a few nerves on both sides but it’s good to get a win on opening day,” said Vaquero coach Jeff Walker. “Gilbert is our ace in the hole and he did what he does. We had a lot of guys getting their first college at-bats.

“It was encouraging to see how much our guys have improved since the fall season.”

Gilbert only gave up two hits in the first six innings. The Storm scored their first run in the seventh on a double by Rupert Watson and a single by Tim Nunn.

Sophomore left-hander Ryan Massengale got the last out in the seventh on a strikeout and pitched the final 2 1/3 innings, giving up three hits. Napa scored twice in the ninth on RBI groundouts.

The Vaqueros took a 2-0 lead in the second. After Brakka led off with a double down the right-field line and Patrick O’Brien walked, McManigal produced an RBI groundout and Player added an RBI double.

The same teams will clash in a doubleheader on Saturday at Pershing with game times set for