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Uskali blanks Vaqueros 9-0 on 4-hitter

(Photo by Javier Delarosa)
(Photo by Javier Delarosa)

Sophomore right-hander Neil Uskali tossed a four-hit shutout on Tuesday and Cuesta downed SBCC 9-0 in a WSC North baseball game at Pershing Park.

Uskali retired the first 10 batters before Jake Gagain drilled a single up the middle with one out in the fourth. That was the only baserunner Uskali allowed in the first six innings. Gagain got another single to lead off the seventh but was stranded at second.

"Cuesta is a very good team with a good coach and good players," said Vaquero coach Jeff Walker. "We trailed on every side of the baseball -- pitching, defense and hitting. They played their 'A game' and we didn't."

The Vaqueros fell to 5-8 overall and 2-3 in the WSC North while the first-place Cougars improved to 9-4 and 3-0.

Uskali (2-0) struck out 10 with just one walk. He faced just three batters over the minimum of 27.

"He's their No. 3 guy and they have two guys better than him, actually three better than him," said Walker. "We haven't been hitting well all year, our guys keep waiting for perfect pitches and they can't adjust. We just have too many outs in our lineup right now.

"We'll have our work cut out for us on Thursday at their field, facing a preseason All-American (Brendan Jenkins)."

Cuesta got two runs in the third on a two-run double down the right-field line by Garrett Giovanelli. The Cougars (9-4, 3-0) stretched it to 4-0 in the fourth when an infield error brought in TK McWhertor and Nick Rutckyj, who both singled to open the inning.

The lead grew to 6-0 in the fifth on a RBI groundout by Will Ruiz and a sacrifice fly by Giovanelli, who was 1-2 with three RBIs.

Rutckyj and Josh Medina both went 3-5 for the Cougars, who collected 13 hits off five Santa Barbara pitchers. Ian Clark (2-3) suffered the loss after giving up four runs (two earned) on six hits in four innings.

SBCC travels to San Luis Obispo for a rematch with the Cougars on Thursday at 2 p.m.