CBB: Bruce throws 3-hit shutout in 11-0 rout

Justin Bruce silenced the high-scoring offense of L.A. Pierce on Tuesday by tossing a three-hit shutout in SBCC’s 11-0 baseball romp at Pershing Park.

The Vaqueros, ranked No. 6 in Southern Cal, improved to 17-7 overall and completed the first round of WSC North play tied for second at 6-4. Top-ranked Oxnard leads the conference at 8-2.

The Vaqueros took a 7-0 lead in the first inning on two-out, two-run singles by James Brakka, Matt Gimenez and Noeh Martinez, who batted leadoff for the first time this year. Gimenez went 2-5 and drove in four runs.

Santa Barbara piled up 14 hits and improved to 12-1 at home. No. 10 Pierce, which had scored 50 runs in its last four games, fell to 13-9-1 and 6-4.

Bruce (4-2), a freshman right-hander from San Jose, has the only two complete games for the Vaqueros this year. He didn’t allow a hit until Joe Christian got an infield single with one out in the fifth. Bruce struck out six and walked two.

“By the seventh inning, I knew I’d go pretty far because all my stuff was working,” said Bruce, who’s given up one earned run in his last 16 innings. “Getting seven runs in the first inning really helped. After that, I just had to throw strikes.”

The Vaqueros sent 11 batters to the plate in the first and produced seven runs on five hits with two walks and a hit batter. The Vaqueros are 17-2 when scoring three or more runs.

Patrick O’Brien drove in Connor McManigal, who had singled, in the second, making it 8-0. McManigal went 3-5, boosting his team-high average to .383. The freshman from Santa Barbara High is batting .524 in his last six games (11-21).

“That was an outstanding effort by Justin Bruce,” said SBCC coach Jeff Walker. “He’s been kind of our go-to guy at home. A complete game was just what we needed to start our week and save our bullpen for the rest of the week.

“We got the monkey off our back in terms of getting to a left-handed starter. We were able to get their guy out early.”

Matt McKeever went just one inning for the Brahmas, leaving after the first two batters reached in the second. He gave up eight runs (seven earned) on six hits.

“We sped the game up on them a little and got some timely hitting in the first inning,” noted Walker. “We put Noeh Martinez in the leadoff spot because he’s been having a lot of competitive at-bats.”

Martinez and Brett Sesma each had two hits for the Vaqueros. Brakka was hit by a pitch in three straight at-bats and he leads the state with 11 beanings.

The Vaqueros will host Ventura on Thursday at 2:30 p.m.

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