The SBCC softball team scored the final four runs in its meeting with Cuesta on Thursday at Pershing Park, going on to win in extra innings for the first time this season, 9-8 after eight innings.
The Vaqueros improved to 3-3 during WSC play – their best start to conference since 2017 – and are now 9-22 overall. The Cougars fell to 11-20 overall, 2-4 conference.
Catcher Linnéa Sandhai continued to shine as the team’s top hitter, improving upon her already over-.400 batting average with three more hits in four at bats to go with two runs and a walk. Sandhai is now on her second six-game hit streak in her last 13 games.
As a team, Santa Barbara tied a season-high with 16 hits. Lauren Indermuehle, Naveah Freitas, Paige Powell, Sarah Hammonds and Mckinnzie Grossini all had two each.
Indermuehle and Natalie Depasquale each had their second three-RBI performances of the season. Indermuehle’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the eighth brought in the winning run from Alyssa Perez.
Three pitchers saw time in the circle, with Sarah Hammonds getting the start and tossing for five innings. Indermuehle later took over for the final two innings, giving up just two hits and no runs.
In the first inning, the Cougars picked up three consecutive singles to open the scoring. Brianna Burries’ RBI groundout to second base brought in Katelyn Eccles for an unearned run to make it 2-0.
That was immediately followed by a strong response from the Vaqueros, who saw five of their first six batters reach. After a leadoff walk, Sandhai would be the first Vaquero to score on a single up the middle by Freitas. Depasquale then scored on a single through the left side by Powell to tie things at 2-2. Freitas scored to put SBCC up 3-2 on an RBI fielder’s choice by Hammonds.
SBCC tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the second. Indermuehle brought in Perez on a double to right center. On the next at bat, while the ball moved from second base, to home plate, then back to a pickle between first and second, Indermuehle took advantage of the chaos and made it all the way home from second to put the Vaqueros up 5-2.
Cuesta held SBCC without a run for three straight innings while it got hot offensively.
A two-run double by shortstop Alura Neill made it 5-4 in the top of the fourth.
Facing two outs in the top of the fifth, pitcher Leea Brown came in clutch with an RBI single driven low through the right side to tie the game at 5-5.
The Cougars saved their best offense for the sixth, when they flew into the lead with three runs. Burries hit a hard single up the middle to score two as Cuesta took an 8-5 lead.
However, the Vaqueros matched them with three runs of their own with a huge six-hit inning. Jade Leoffler scored on a single to left by Indermuehle, making it 8-6, and Depasquale tied the game with a huge single through the left side for two more runs from Isabella Huckaby and Sandhai, but the defense picked up the final out on the play.
After both teams got out of the seventh leaving two runners on base, the Vaqueros went to extra innings for just the second time this season.
Indermuehle and the defense kept the Cougars without a hit in the top of the eighth, as Burries was struck out looking for the final out.
Alyssa Perez then started the Vaqueros off strong with a four-pitch walk. Sandhai then hit a big single to center field. Finally, Indermuehle sent one deep into center, springing Perez from third as she beat the throw home to win the game.
The Vaqueros are set for a non-conference matchup with Pasadena at Ventura College this Saturday at 10:00 a.m.
Michael Jorgenson works in communications/media relations at Santa Barbara City College.