Baseball Corrals Santa Barbara City Vaqueros In Postseason Opener

Mt.+SAC+Baseball+celebrates+the+opening+run+of+the+game+at+Mazmanian+Field+against+Santa+Barbara+City+College+on+Friday%2C+May+4.+Photo+Credit%3A+Hernandez+Coke%2FSAC.Media

Mt. SAC Baseball celebrates the opening run of the game at Mazmanian Field against Santa Barbara City College on Friday, May 4. Photo Credit: Hernandez Coke/SAC.Media

Mt. SAC Baseball, the fourth seed in the Southern California Regional bracket, hosted the first game of a three-game playoff series against Santa Barbara City College at Mazmanian Field on Friday, May 4, defeating the visitors 7-3.

The South Coast Conference Champion Mounties were the heavy favorite, though they were dealing with a few injuries heading into the opening playoff game.

On the mound for Mt. SAC was the sophomore right-hander Mason Corneliussen, who posted a 3.51 ERA in the regular season along with 57 strikeouts and an 11-1 record.

Corneliussen started off the game strong by striking out the very first batter of the game, however he gave up two earned runs in the top of the second inning which gave up the lead.

In the third inning he found himself in another jam with bases loaded, but managed to finish the inning unscathed.

Mt. SAC Baseball pitcher Mason Corneliussen at Mazmanian Field on Friday, May 4. Photo Credit: Hernandez Coke/SAC.Media

“In the beginning, I wasn’t really having a feel for all my pitches,” Corneliussen said of his struggles in the early innings.

“I came out in the third inning and I just had a feeling. I started feeling every pitch, locating a lot better, and keeping them more off-balanced, so it helped me out a lot.”

Corneliussen pitched seven innings with three earned runs, three strikeouts, 10 hits allowed, and one error.

On the offensive side, the Mounties continued their absolute dominance over the opposing team’s pitching.

Third baseman Michael Sandoval got things going in the bottom of the first when he ripped a two-out double to right field, scoring both Anthony Walters and Ryon Knowles in the process, giving the Mounties the early 2-0 lead.

Sandoval would later hit an RBI single in the fourth inning, giving him three RBI on the day.

“He was pretty banged up the other day at practice. We weren’t even sure if he was a go until batting practice,” Mounties head coach John Knott said on Sandoval’s performance.

“For him to be feeling the way he did and to give that kind of production was just awesome to see.”

Adding to the Mounties offensive explosion in game one was outfielder Quinn Cotter, who blasted a two-RBI triple in the third inning to take back the lead. He would later score on a sacrifice fly from first baseman Dino Miranda.

Santa Barbara City Vaqueros player slides into Mt. SAC Baseball first baseman Dino Miranda at Mazmanian Field on Friday, May 4. Photo Credit: Hernandez Coke/SAC.Media

Chris Sandberg would bring in Sandoval for the Mounties’ seventh run of the game in the fourth inning.

“We came out kind of flat and we just told each other that we need to keep going and that this has to be a big win for us,” Sandoval said.

“Everyone’s sleeping on us, so we have to prove to everyone that we’re here to play.”

The Vaqueros would tack on one more run in the top of the seventh inning, but it was too little, too late as the Mounties would go on to take game one by a final score of 7-3.

“I think that’s been the identity of this team, in that we’ve been able to hang in there and fight. It hasn’t always been pretty, but that’s kind of baseball in a nutshell,” Knott said of his team’s performance.

“These guys have pulled for one another, stayed with the plan and given competitive at-bats, made the plays defensively, and Mason was great on the mound today.”

The Mounties will host the Vaqueros in game two of this best-of-three series on Saturday, May 5 at 11 a.m.

Mt. SAC will have the opportunity to sweep Santa Barbara City and advance to the second round of the playoffs, but Knott and the team remain focused squarely on the next game.

“You just have to go one pitch at a time; if you start getting carried away, it’s easy to make mistakes here and now,” Knott said.

“Just one pitch at a time, do your job, and as the game gets going we have to make adjustments.”

“We just have to take it day by day, game by game,” Sandoval said.

“This was a huge win for us, but tomorrow’s a new day, so we have to come out and bring the same focus, same intensity from pitch one.”