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Late rally lifts Vaqueros over Bulldogs, 5-3

Cody Van Aken (3-0) got the win with 1 1/3 innings of relief.
Cody Van Aken (3-0) got the win with 1 1/3 innings of relief.

SBCC fell behind 3-2 in the top of the eighth on Tuesday, then rallied for three runs in the bottom of the inning to beat Hancock 5-3 in a WSC North baseball game at Pershing Park.

Noeh Martinez went 2-3 with an RBI and Patrick O'Brien added two hits for the No. 6 Vaqueros, who improved to 13-2 at home. SBCC (19-8, 8-5) remained in second place, three games behind Oxnard. The Vaqueros have a two-game lead over Hancock (16-10-1, 6-7) and L.A. Pierce, who are tied for third.

Brett Sesma, who entered the game at second base in the top of the eighth, threw out Felipe Gonzalez for the third out, then delivered a single up the middle that scored Trey Barrett to make it 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth. O'Brien also scored on the play after the center fielder misplayed the ball for an error. Matt Gimenez brought Sesma home with a single that made it 5-3.

"I have to give credit to my teammates for getting on base and having good at-bats," said Sesma, a sophomore from Northridge. "I was just trying to see pitches and see what I could drive. I got a pitch middle in and put the best swing on it I could.

"There's nothing like comeback wins. They're fun."

Justin Bruce continued his string of solid starts, going 7 1/3 innings and allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits. He struck out three and walked three.

Side-armer Cody Van Aken came on in a 2-2 game with runners at first and third and one out in the eighth. He gave up a sacrifice bunt to Ryan Welker that scored Angel Guillen, then got the last out on a groundout to Sesma.

Van Aken got the win by going 1 1/3 innings to improve to 3-0.

"I would rather have a lead early than have to come back but any win is a good win," said Vaquero coach Jeff Walker. "It was nice to see how we battled back. We gave them some chances and they gave us some chances.

"One thing I'm happy about is not having to see Nathan Thompson again. He's a sophomore and he's been a formidable pitcher the last two years."

Thompson went 6 1/3 innings, holding the Vaqueros to one earned run on four hits. He struck out five and walked five. John Drury took the loss, allowing three runs on three hits in 1 1/3 innings.

"Sesma did a good job late in the game and it was nice that I finally pushed the right buttons," said Walker. "We stayed on our side and came out with the win."

Van Aken got in trouble in the ninth when Ryan Bendele dropped down a leadoff bunt and Van Aken threw it away for an error. After a walk and a sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third, Van Aken ended the game by striking out pinch-hitter Ron Regalado and getting Angel Guillen to foul out to Gimenez at third base.

The Vaqueros travel to Santa Maria to take on Hanocck in the finale of their four-game series on Thursday at 2:30 p.m.