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Barry tosses 5-hit shutout in Regional opener

Sean Barry threw a five-hitter in the Southern Cal Regional opener, lowering his ERA to 1.46. He's 2nd in the state in strikeouts with 94. (Photo by Dave Loveton)
Sean Barry threw a five-hitter in the Southern Cal Regional opener, lowering his ERA to 1.46. He's 2nd in the state in strikeouts with 94. (Photo by Dave Loveton)

Sean Barry got off to a strong start and never let up on Friday as No. 3 SBCC opened the Southern Cal Regional baseball playoffs with a 5-0 win over Rio Hondo at Pershing Park.

The 6-2 sophomore right-hander from Simi Valley retired the first 12 batters on the way to a five-hit shutout. Barry improved to 9-3 on the year and lowered his ERA to 1.46, 10th-best in the state. It was his second complete game and the eighth shutout of the year by the Vaqueros.

Barry struck out seven and didn't walk a batter until the ninth inning. He's No. 2 in the state with 94 strikeouts in 92.1 innings.

"It was really good to pitch with a lead after the third inning," said Barry. "Our defense played great and Matt Gimenez had a crazy good game at third."

Gimenez, a sophomore from Los Alamitos, had seven assists on the day, including a leaping grab of a high chopper and a diving stop and throw to first to end the fifth.

Santa Barbara improved to 29-8 with its fifth straight win and 11th in 13 games. Rio Hondo starter Joe Wills entered the game with a 9-1 record and a 2.91 ERA. He gave up five runs (four earned) on 12 hits in six innings. The Roadrunners fell to 26-11.

Matt Henderson went 2-5 and reached base four times. Noeh Martinez, Gimenez and Spencer Erdman, the last three hitters in the Vaquero lineup, all had two hits.

The Vaqueros took a 2-0 lead in the third on an RBI groundout by Connor McManigal and an RBI double to right by James Brakka. They added a run in the fourth on a single by Martinez and a triple to right center by Erdman. Martinez made it 4-0 in the fifth when James Hill singled to center, went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Brakka and scored on Noeh Martinez two-out infield single.

All nine of the Vaquero starters had at least one hit. SBCC improved to 20-0 when scoring the first run of the game and 22-0 when scoring five or more.

"It's always good to get a win to start a series," said coach Jeff Walker. "Kudos to Sean and our defense behind him, that was an outstanding effort. Matty and Erdman played well up the middle and Gimenez was excellent at third."

The teams will play Game 2 of the best-of-3 series on Saturday at 11 a.m. A third game will follow, if necessary.