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Hill’s hitting, Messer’s pitching lifts Vaqueros to 6-5 win

Catcher James Hill went 3-5 with 2 doubles and 3 RBIs. He has a 15-game hit streak and is now the No. 1 hitter in the WSC North at .389. (Photo by Dave Loveton)
Catcher James Hill went 3-5 with 2 doubles and 3 RBIs. He has a 15-game hit streak and is now the No. 1 hitter in the WSC North at .389. (Photo by Dave Loveton)

James Hill went 3-for-5 with two doubles and three RBIs on Saturday and Davis Messer pitched two shutout innings to guide SBCC to a 6-5 baseball win at Ventura.

The Vaqueros, ranked No. 4 in Southern Cal, improved to 25-8 and 14-7. They remained in second place in the WSC North, one game behind Oxnard, which edged Cuesta 5-4 on Saturday. Cuesta is third at 13-8 with three games to play.

Hill, a sophomore catcher from Monterey, extended his hitting streak to 15 games and took over the WSC North batting lead at .389. His two-run double in the fifth stretched the Vaquero lead to 5-1. Hill went 8-13 (.615) this week with two doubles and five RBIs in three games.

The Vaqueros boosted the lead to 6-2 when Spencer Erdman's double drove in Matt Gimenez in the eighth. Erdman went 2-4 with two stolen bases and Gimenez was also 2-4. Erdman is No. 7 in the state with 21 stolen bases.

Ventura (9-24, 4-17) loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth and got a run on a walk by starter Sean Barry. Messer replaced Barry and gave up a two-run single to Codi Santana that cut the deficit to 6-5 with no outs. After a strikeout and a walk, Messer got out of the jam on a double-play grounder to Erdman at second base.

Barry (7-3) got the win, giving up five runs (three earned) on five hits with seven strikeouts and four walks in seven innings. Messer allowed just one hit in two innings to record his first save.

"We scored early and hung on in the eighth," said coach Jeff Walker. "Messer came up big in the eighth against a Ventura team that's better than their record indicates."

The 25 wins by the Vaqueros are tied for third-highest in school history. The 2007 team set the all-time mark of 34-10 but that came in a 44-game regular season, which is eight more than they play now. Last year's squad, which finished fifth in the State, is second on the list at 27-15.

SBCC plays its last three WSC games next week. The Vaqueros will host Ventura on Tuesday and Hancock on Thursday before finishing up at Hancock on Friday. All three games start at 2:30 p.m.