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Clark’s 2-run single lifts Vaqueros over Ventura, 8-6

Connor Clark rips a two-run single to right in the eighth, giving the Vaqueros a 7-5 lead. (Photo by Dave Loveton)
Connor Clark rips a two-run single to right in the eighth, giving the Vaqueros a 7-5 lead. (Photo by Dave Loveton)

Connor Clark snapped a 5-5 tie with a two-run single in the eighth on Tuesday afternoon and SBCC went on to post an 8-6 comeback win over Ventura in a WSC North baseball game at Pershing Park.

Clark came off the bench and went 2-3 with three RBIs for the Vaqueros, who had five doubles in their 11 hits. Jake Gagain drilled a two-run homer in the third and Chris Smutny and Nicholas Allman had two doubles apiece.

The Vaqueros (8-10, 5-4) moved into a five-way tie for first in conference with Ventura, Hancock, Cuesta and Oxnard. The Pirates fell to 11-9 and 5-4.

SBCC rallied from an early 3-0 deficit. Gagain's second homer, a towering shot over the right-field fence, cut the deficit to 3-2 and Clark's two-out single in the fourth scored Allman and tied it at 3 apiece.

The Vaqueros had lost their previous two home games by a combined 15-3.

"We played up to our potential today and everybody had a good day," said Clark, a 6-5 sophomore first baseman/outfielder. "We need to do that consistently.

"I was seeing the ball well today at the plate. I was just trying to put it in play."

Davis Messer went the first 6 1/3 innings for the Vaqueros, allowing three runs on six hits with five strikeouts and two walks. Starting pitcher Ian Clark worked the ninth and picked up his first save.

The Vaqueros took their first lead in the seventh when Wesley Ghan-Gibson led off with a single, was sacrificed to second by Clark and scored on a double by Alex Heim. Smutny followed with a double to left-center, boosting the lead to 5-3.

Ventura got even at 5-5 on a two-run single by Ryan Coker in the eighth. Coker went 2-4 with four RBIs.

Tyler Rosen opened the bottom of the eighth with a single to center and went to third on Allman's second double. Joey Contreras relieved starter Nate Green and hit his first batter, Ghan-Gibson, to load the bases with one out.

Clark stroked a single down the right-field line to score two and put SBCC ahead 7-5. A sacrifice fly by pinch-hitter Jackson Wittwer made it 8-5.

"We did a great job of coming back after getting down early," said coach Jeff Walker. "We played like we were playing for first place and that was exciting to see. We got contributions from a lot of different guys.

"It was great to see Ian Clark get his first save after a short start on Saturday."

The Vaqueros open a four-game road trip on Thursday at Ventura with the first pitch at 2:30 p.m.