Saddleback College’s impressive start to the 2016 baseball season continued with two wins, 7-1 and 9-1, against Santa Barbara City College on Saturday. Head coach Sommer McCartney’s team is playing well, adding a couple more decisive wins to their record.
Saddleback’s bats stayed red hot against SBCC, putting up 16 runs during the two games. The whole team contributed to the wins, making it hard for the Santa Barbara pitchers to ever get any consistency.
Outfielder Adam Gordon stole the show in the first game of the double header with a pinch-hit grand slam home run in the bottom of the sixth that put the game out of reach.
“It felt great off the bat, it was fun.” Gordon said.
The Gauchos offense also benefited from the offensive success shortstop Luke Jarvis experienced. He had an RBI in the first game and added two more in the second, looking more comfortable at the plate than earlier in the year.
“A lot of balls have not been falling for me, it felt good to finally get one to find the grass.” Jarvis said.
The only aspect of the game the Gauchos needed to improve on was defense. They committed five errors over the two games on Saturday. However, the dominant pitching from the starters and relievers seemed to more than make up for the lapse on defense.
Cameron Aufderheide got the start for Saddleback in game one of the double-header. He struggled to find a rhythm the first few innings, but his persistence payed off. Ultimately, he got his second win, in as many starts, on the season for his five inning effort.
“He is a veteran guy. He did a good job,” McCartney said.
Jackson Rees took the ball from Aufderheide in the sixth and finished the first game, not allowing any more runs. The second game saw six Gauchos pitchers combine for the victory, with Logan Escudero getting credit for the win for his 1.2 inning of work.
“Our pitching has been really strong. Guys come in, they throw strikes and compete and we’re in every game,” McCartney said.
Starting off the season by winning their first five games is an excellent sign for a Gauchos team that expects to be in contention for a conference championship at the end of the year. The team seems to have the talent and the camaraderie to do it.
“We are just clicking as a team, we have a tight group this year and everyone seems to get along with each other. We are just playing relaxed,” designated hitter Jared Donahoe said.
Saddleback will play Cuesta College at home in a two-game series on February 11-12 in an attempt to extend their winning streak to seven games. McCartney anticipates they will be hard games for the Gauchos.
“Oh man, Cuesta’s tough, I mean they’ve only lost one game … they’ve got a couple of big arms that will be a good matchup, good test for us,” McCartney said. “They’re well coached, it will be a good challenge for us.”