Phil Quartararo hit a soft liner to center to score Benjamin Martz in the bottom of the ninth on Saturday afternoon, giving SBCC a 3-2 walk-off baseball win over Cuesta at Pershing Park.
"I was struggling early in the game and I just choked up and tried to hit something in the middle of the field," said Quartararo. "I hit a little sink ball and it worked out in our favor today."
Walkoff win for the Vaqs against Cuesta!! Quartararo with the game winning hit and a nice slide by Martz. Another great start on the mound by Churchill and clutch hitting by Trifilieti. Excellent team win! #govaqueros pic.twitter.com/pvxbD1UT62— Rocco Constantino (@_Vaqueros_AD) March 16, 2019
The Vaqueros (10-7, 3-3 WSC North) struggled in the first seven innings against Cuesta left-hander Zach Torra. Torra gave up 11 hits and two runs (one earned) with eight strikeouts.
"Their pitcher is pretty good, that's why we recruited him three years ago," said SBCC coach Jeff Walker. "He went here, then he went to Hancock and then transferred to Cuesta this year. It was tough to score but then we tied it and won it in the ninth."
The Vaqueros tied it in the eighth when Jacob Bravo singled and went to second when left-fielder Gabe Barthelmass booted the ball. Nicholas Trifiletti brought him home with a single to left, tying it at 2-2.
Martz, a sophomore catcher from Thousand Oaks, had a break-out game, going 4-for-4 and reaching base five times. He started the ninth-inning rally with a one-out double down the left-field line and Patrick Caulfield was intentionally walked, setting the stage for Quartararo.
"It was tough to score runs today but we've been dealing with adversity like that all year," said Martz, who scored the winning run on a head-first dive into home. "I think it's about time we overcome that and stop falling into the same pitfalls. We took care of business in the end.
"It feels good to get four hits. I've been trying to do too much all year. Today, I decided not to care and I just took simple, short swings and I was quick to the ball. It ended up working out."
SBCC loaded the bases with one out in the first and couldn't score. The Vaqueros stranded nine runners in the first seven innings and 11 for the game.
Santa Barbara took a 1-0 lead in the second when Trifiletti singled and went to third when the ball got past the left fielder. Mason Metcalfe drove him in with a booming triple to right-center.
The Vaqueros got outstanding pitching from sophomore left-hander Ian Churchill and Conner Roberts. Churchill went seven innings, allowing two unearned runs on six hits and striking out eight. Roberts (4-1) got the win by striking out five of the six batters he faced in the eighth and ninth.
Churchill lowered his already tiny ERA from 0.32 to 0.26, second-best in the state.
Trifiletti, Bravo and Caulfield all had two hits for the Vaqueros, who won the hitting battle 13-6.
The Vaqueros will host Oxnard on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.