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Vaqueros to play Sectional series at Oxnard

Reliever Lucas Benenati (right) celebrates Saturday's 8-1 win with catcher Paddy O'Brien. SBCC will face WSC North rival Oxnard in the Sectionals. (Photo by Jeanise Eaton)
Reliever Lucas Benenati (right) celebrates Saturday's 8-1 win with catcher Paddy O'Brien. SBCC will face WSC North rival Oxnard in the Sectionals. (Photo by Jeanise Eaton)

SBCC will face a familiar opponent in the Southern Cal Sectional baseball playoffs.

The Vaqueros (27-13) were seeded third for the Sectionals, following Southwestern's 6-2 win over No. 3 Santa Ana that gave the Jaguars a 2-1 series win. Santa Barbara, the WSC North runner-up, will travel to face WSC North champion and No. 2 seed Oxnard (31-10) in a best-of-3 series.

Game 1 is Friday at 2 p.m. with Game 2 on Saturday at 1 p.m. and Game 3 (if necessary) on Sunday at noon.

The Vaqueros split their four-game series with Oxnard and the last two were decided by one run in the 10th inning. On April 9, SBCC staged one of the biggest comebacks in school history, rallying from a 9-2 deficit in the bottom of the ninth to beat Oxnard 10-9 in 10 innings on Jimmy Hill's sacrifice fly.

SBCC has won four straight in the playoffs, outscoring the opponents 28-6. They beat L.A. Mission on Friday and Saturday (3-0 and 8-1) to win the Super Regional, holding the high-scoring Eagles to one run in 18 innings. Justin Bruce pitched seven shutout innings on Friday and Tyler Gilbert posted eight zeroes in Saturday's win.

This is the farthest any Vaquero baseball team has advanced in the postseason.

Oxnard swept L.A. Pierce over the weekend 9-1 and 6-5 in 11 innings. The Condors have the No. 3 ERA in the state (2.08) and the Vaqueros are No. 10 in runs scored (6.4 per game) and 13th in stolen bases (70).

Ticket prices are $12 for an all-tournament pass (good for all 3 games), $10 for general admission and $7 for Seniors, Staff, Students with ID and Children under 12.

Fans are encouraged to arrive early on Saturday and Sunday due to the Strawberry Festival going on near the Oxnard campus.

In the other Sectional series, No. 4 Southwestern (29-12) will play at No. 1 Orange Coast (31-9). The winners will move on to the State Championships on May 24-26 at Fresno City College.