The Saddleback baseball team remained undefeated after going extra innings to defeat Cuesta College, 8-5, on Thursday in San Luis Obispo. The Gauchos and Cougars are scheduled to play two more games, weather permitting.
Saddleback pulled off late-game heroics again on Thursday, scoring four times in the tenth inning after going scoreless for the previous five innings and letting Cuesta creep back into the game.
The Gauchos had a 4-0 lead heading into the bottom half of the fourth inning, scoring once in the third and three times in the fourth inning. Brett Auerbach provided the big blow in the fourth when he doubled, scoring both Jerry Carrillo and Zack Bowman to make the score 4-0.
Cuesta battled back and scored twice in the bottom half of the inning and two more times in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game at 4-4. The bullpens took over from there, holding both teams scoreless through the ninth inning. Connor Sealey, Hunter Johnson, Chris Despars and Michael Carr all got their chances, striking out five batters over 4.1 innings of work while allowing just one hit.
The game moved to the tenth inning all knotted up at 4-4. Saddleback then cranked up the offense as Adam Gordon and Andrew Wilson both led off the inning with singles to put runners at first and third with no outs. Erik Voller then grounded out shortstop, but the ball was hit soft enough to allow Gordon to score from third to give the Gauchos a 5-4 lead. Saddleback then got a break when Cuesta pitcher Cole Tucker threw a wild pitch, allowing Wilson to scamper over to third base. This allowed Bowman to try a sacrifice bunt with Wilson scoring the sixth run of the game.
With two outs in the inning Saddleback started a new rally when Jason Allen reached on an error and Carrillo singled, again putting runners at the corners. The Gauchos then put Carrillo in motion to second base and the catcher made a throwing error, allowing Allen to cross home base with the third run of the inning. Auerbach then put an exclamation point on the inning with another double to score Carrillo and Saddleback had a comfortable 8-4 lead. It was Auerbach's fourth hit of the game…easily his best outing of the year. The freshman from Tesoro came into the game batting .277 for the year and raised his average nearly 100 points (.375) by going 4-for-6 with three RBI. Carrillo also had a big game at the plate, going 3-for-5 with two runs scored.
Saddleback still had work to do in the tenth inning and called upon Bradley Spooner to finish out the game. After getting into a bit of a jam and giving up a run, Spooner struck out the final batter and the Gauchos celebrated yet another early-season victory. Michael Carr was credited with the win after pitching a perfect ninth inning to run his record to 3-0 for the season.
Saddleback is now 7-0 for the season and is scheduled to play both Friday and Saturday in San Luis Obispo. The weather forecast is predicting showers for Friday afternoon and mostly sunny weather on Saturday.