CBB: Red-hot SBCC knocks off Nor Cal No. 2-ranked Fresno

SBCC's Jimmy Brakka hits a home run to lead off the fourth inning.

SBCC’s Jimmy Brakka hits a home run to lead off the fourth inning.

With just one game this week, No. 5 SBCC had the luxury of using three starting pitchers in one game on Thursday and all three were outstanding in a 5-3 baseball win over No. 2 Fresno City at Pershing Park.

Jimmy Brakka led off the fourth with his first homer of the year, a shot to right that boosted the lead to 3-1. Spencer Erdman went 3-4 for the Vaqueros, ranked No. 5 in Southern Cal, while Matt Henderson, Jimmy Hill and Noeh Martinez had two hits apiece on a day the Vaqueros outhit the Rams 12-4.

“I was just looking for a fastball, he was going out with all his offspeed pitches,” said Brakka, a left-handed first baseman from San Marcos High. “I was looking for a mistake and I got one. This is a big win, these guys are pretty good.”

It was the fifth straight win and 11th in 12 games for the Vaqueros, who have the third-best record in Southern California at 23-6. SBCC boosted its home record to 13-2. Fresno, ranked No. 2 in Northern Cal, fell to 25-5.

SBCC got RBI from five players to improve to 13-2 at home. Connor McManigal had a run-scoring fielder’s choice in the first and Cam Jones drove in Martinez with a single in the second to make it 2-1.

Sean Barry (6-2) was designated to throw the first three innings and he was outstanding. The 6-2 sophomore from Simi Valley allowed one run on two hits and struck out seven of the 10 batters he faced.

Left-hander Lucas Jacobsen took the mound in the fourth and was even better, shutting down a potent Fresno lineup (.308 team batting average) by pitching no-hit ball for five innings with three strikeouts.

“Jacobsen was the story, coming out of the bullpen,” said SBCC coach Jeff Walker. “That’s not a role he’s accustomed to and he did an outstanding job.”

What about using three starters in the same game?

“You’re going to see that when you have a rainout on Tuesday and we don’t play another game this week,” Walker explained. “We haven’t played since last Friday and we were facing a formidable opponent in Fresno. I think they’ve been to the playoffs 26 straight years. It was a good test for us and a good nonconference win.”

The Vaqueros stretched the lead to 4-1 in the fourth when Henderson doubled, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Hill’s single to center. The margin grew to 5-1 in the eighth on a double by Spencer Erdman and a single down the left-field line by Henderson.

Erdman had a couple of spectacular fielding plays at second base with a diving stop of a ball hit up the middle and throw to first to get Christian Funk in the fourth and a leaping grab of a line drive by Nate Navarrette to end the fifth.

The Vaqueros are No. 4 in the State with a 2.34 ERA and No. 6 in stolen bases with 68.

Jake Keily came in to start the ninth and struggled a bit, with a single and two walks that loaded the bases. After a pop-out to short, the Vaqueros No. 1 starter, Justin Bruce, came on and got Scott Silva on a sacrifice fly to left. Bruce gave up an RBI single to pinch-hitter Harley Glines before ending the game by getting Aaron Simms to look at strike three. It was the first save of the year for Bruce, whose ERA is 2.23.

SBCC will play four games next week, starting with WSC North road dates at Cuesta and L.A. Pierce on Monday and Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.