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Churchill tosses five sharp innings in 10-3 home-opening win

Sophomore Ian Churchill threw five shutout innings and struck out eight in his 2019 debut. (Photo by Ken Sciallo/Sevilla Photography)
Sophomore Ian Churchill threw five shutout innings and struck out eight in his 2019 debut. (Photo by Ken Sciallo/Sevilla Photography)

Ian Churchill shut down West L.A. in five shutout innings on Saturday and Boston Hubbard went 4-5 with two RBIs as SBCC opened its home baseball campaign with a dominant 10-3 win at Pershing Park.

Churchill, a sophomore left-hander who's committed to the University of Arizona, held the Wildcats to a fourth-inning single while striking out eight and walking two. He struck out the side in the third, giving him six punch-outs in seven batters.

The Vaqueros (2-0), ranked No. 12 in Southern California, outscored the Wildcats 22-7 in their two-game series.

"Today was my first start and I was just trying to attack the zone as much as I could with my fastball," said Churchill, a former San Marcos High standout. "I didn't throw a whole lot of off-speed. I just tried to hit my spots and if I ever got out of sync or felt like I was over-throwing, I got some good mental cues from my coaches.

"Our offense scored 10 runs and that was huge. All you can do is throw up a zero and let them keep going up there and do what they do. I think we're a great team and I think we're going to go really far."

Catcher Alonzo Rubalcaba was 3-3 with four runs, two doubles and two walks. Mason Metcalfe went 2-4 and Pat Caulfield had a two-run triple into the right-field corner in a four-run second that gave the Vaqueros a 4-0 lead.

Addison Lueras was hit in the helmet twice in the second and third innings. He got an RBI in the third as he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Tommy Holguin had an RBI groundout in the second and a bases-loaded walk in the fourth, boosting the lead to 6-0.

Three Wildcat pitchers combined to walk eight and hit four batters, including three by the starter Garrett Boyce, who allowed six runs in 3 2/3 innings.

"We were efficient for 8 2/3 innings, just like yesterday," said eighth-year coach Jeff Walker. "Ian did well and our defense played much better today. That was a big catch by Boston in the eighth, he ran a long way for that one.

"We've had two quality starts in two days and held them scoreless until we scored. We had a lot of quality at-bats and had a lot of guys playing their first college games this weekend."

Hubbard, a 6-1 sophomore outfielder from Danville, Calif., reached base in six of seven at-bats. He delivered RBI singles in the second and eighth frames. The Vaqueros scored three runs in the eighth to push the lead to 10-0.

"I was excited to play our first home game," said Hubbard, who ran about 25 yards to snag Ryan Siebert's deep fly ball in foul territory for the first out in the eighth inning. "Protecting the Persh is our No. 1 priority when we come out here. Every time I came up, I just tried to put the ball in play and hit something hard.

"Nothing excites me more than seeing a pitcher come in, throw strikes, attack the zone and keep putting up zeros on the board. That makes the other team scared and gives our offense a chance to jump on them."

The Vaqueros led 10-0 and were one out away from a shutout but it wasn't to be as Joe Kinsky loaded the bases on two walks and a single by Josh Carrillo. Brandon Brown drilled a three-run double to right-center and then was cut down at third for the last out of the game on a relay from right fielder Nicholas Trifiletti to the second baseman Lueras to Metcalfe at third.

The Vaqueros will travel to Mission Viejo for a three-game series with No. 4 Saddleback, starting Thursday at 6 p.m.