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L.A. Mission overpowers Vaqueros, 6-3

Shane Hersh singled up the middle and scored the Vaqueros' second run in the fourth. He's hitting .369 on the year. (Photo by Dave Loveton / SBCC Sports Information)
Shane Hersh singled up the middle and scored the Vaqueros' second run in the fourth. He's hitting .369 on the year. (Photo by Dave Loveton / SBCC Sports Information)

L.A. Mission belted two homers in the first inning on Saturday and went on to beat SBCC 6-3 in a non-conference baseball game at Pershing Park.

Cade Spurlin hit his seventh homer to right field and Gabriel Gonzalez drilled one to right-center, giving the Eagles (13-7) a 2-0 lead after four batters. The visitors stretched the margin to 5-0 with two runs in the fourth on an RBI double by Matthew Elser and a sacrifice fly by Jonathan Tyler.

Catcher Mitch Sancier went 2-3 for the Vaqueros (9-8), who managed just six hits for the second straight game and suffered their third straight loss.

"You spot them five runs in the first few innings and it makes things difficult," said coach Jeff Walker. "We battled back and got the tying run to the plate in the ninth. It was a little unfortunate how we gave them a run in the ninth to make it 6-3.

"We made too many mistakes against the game to stay on the positive side."

Mission extended the lead to three (6-3) in the top of the ninth. Victor Gonzalez doubled into the right-field corner and left-hander Steven Elliott got a strikeout and a groundout. He struck out Tyler Grissom but the ball came loose and Sancier threw high and wide to first for an error that allowed Gonzalez to score an unearned run.

The Eagles collected two homers and four doubles off three Vaquero pitchers. Ian Churchill went the first five innings and gave up five runs on eight hits with six strikeouts.

The Vaqueros only got six singles and half of those were infield hits.

Mission benefitted from three double plays, including a 4-6-3 in the ninth after pinch-hitter Elijah Hodges and Sancier drew walks from Eagle closer Bryan Suppan to open the inning. Ryan Guardino got another walk to bring the potential tying run to the plate again but Suppan got a strikeout looking to end the game.

Santa Barbara had been dominant at home, averaging 13.2 runs and hitting .379 coming into Saturday's contest. The home record fell to 5-2 after the Vaqueros' second straight loss at Pershing Park.

"They brought the energy and we didn't do anything to match it," said Walker. "It felt like their home game, not ours. That's only the second time in my seven years that I've felt like that at a home game.

"We have our conference opener on Tuesday and we'll start that 20-game season. We'll regroup, make the adjustments we need and get back to playing good baseball."

The Vaqueros are the defending WSC North champions and have won four of the last seven conference crowns. They'll play at Hancock on Tuesday, then host the Bulldogs on Thursday with both games at 2 p.m.