The Saddleback baseball squad looked like a team out of sorts on Saturday night, trailing 5-0 after two innings and making uncharacteristic mistakes in the field. That all changed when the Gauchos went to the bullpen, with Trey Ferketic leading the charge to two straight wins.
Saddleback looked well on its way to its first loss of the season through the first couple of innings as Santa Barbara nipped away at the Gauchos with small ball, coupled with Saddleback mistakes in the field. Starter Taylor Ohl was victimized by two fielding errors, one of his own volition and lasted only 1-1/3 innings before getting yanked on the wrong end of a 5-0 deficit. Ferketic (pictured right, video below) then came on to shut down the Vaqueros for 4-2/3 innings of work, giving the Gauchos time to get their footing. The Saddleback offense eventually found its stride after Ferketic left in the sixth, scoring one run in the sixth inning, three more in the seventh and two in the eighth in rallying for a 6-5 win.
Saddleback would then dominate game two of the double-header, and once again pitching was the fuel. Seth Pedersen pitched six scoreless innings before giving way to the bullpen as the Gauchos shut out Santa Barbara 7-0, improving to 6-0 on the season. Pedersen surrendered just two hits while striking out seven and left with Saddleback leading 2-0 through six. The Gauchos would then explode for five runs in the eighth innings, sending the Vaqueros packing on a cold evening in Mission Viejo.
Eric Ehlow had a big night at the plate for Saddleback, finishing 5-for-9 on the night with three RBI. Ehlow singled home the winning run in game one with a one-out single in the eighth inning to give Saddleback a 6-5 lead.
After the first two innings of game one, Saddleback pitchers allowed only seven hits in 16 innings of work, striking out 15 while walking just three. The bullpen of Ferketic and Anthony Shew pitched to the minimum amount of batters over the final five innings of game one and only three runners advanced past second base for the entire game two.
For Saddleback, it is the first 6-0 start to a season since 2006. The Gauchos will now take aim at the 2005 team, who opened the season 9-0. The state championship team of 2004 started off the season with seven straight wins.
Saddleback will play next on the road at Glendale College on Wednesday. First pitch is scheduled for 2:00 PM.