“At the beginning I was a little nervous,” Lockhart said. “Throughout the game I settled down and settled in. The team pumped me up and kept me in it.”
Lockhart struck out 10, walked eight while not allowing a hit or earned run through seven innings. Both of the Vaqueros (23-16) runs were unearned including their first run of the game that came in the top of the fourth inning on a Lockhart wild pitch.
“When you take that long of a break it takes a little while to get back into the swing of things,” COC softball head coach John Wissmath said. “She struggled a little bit but she was resilient and she just kept bouncing back, she had a great finish with those change-ups.”
“She was spectacular throughout the second half,” Wissmath added. “I couldn’t ask for more.”
The Cougars (38-2-1) answered in their half of the fourth inning with a solo home run by freshman catcher Adriana Correra.
“The pitcher was smiling so I wanted to wipe the smile off her face,” Correra said with a grin on her face.
Correra’s home run was the first of many runs to cross the plate for the Cougars in the bottom of the fourth. With the bases loaded and no outs freshmen Heidi Hinklin and Nikki Haslock came through with back-to-back RBI singles to give the Cougars a 3-1 lead.
“Adriana woke us up with that solo home run to tie it,” Wissmath said. “That’s what broke the door wide open for us and we went out there and attacked them.”
Two more runs crossed the plate on a Vaquero error to cap off a five run fourth inning that gave the Cougars a 5-1 lead.
Santa Barbara continued to shoot themselves in the foot in the bottom of the sixth inning by giving up two runs with two outs on a hit-by-pitch with the bases loaded and an error.
Correra led the way at the plate for COC going 2 for 3 with a double, homerun, 2 runs scored, and two RBIs.
Sophomore pitcher Alicia Paiz will be in the circle for the Cougars in game two tomorrow. In 19 games this season Paiz had a 2.75 earned run average with 16 wins and struck out 52 in 122 innings.
Game two will begin at noon on Sunday with game three starting at about 2 p.m. if necessary.