Sophomore right-handed pitcher Nic Cardinal struck out a career-high 11 Vaqueros, and Jake Shusterich led Hancock's 14-hit attack with three hits, including a home run to lead the Allan Hancock College baseball team to a 9-5 win over Santa Barbara City College Tuesday in both teams' conference opener. The Bulldogs improved to 9-0 this season at home on John Osborne Field and won their conference opener for the first time in three years. Hancock moved to 1-0 in Western State Conference play and 10-8 overall. SBCC fell to 0-1 in league and 9-9 on the season.
The Bulldogs stormed out of the gates with a five-run first inning against SBCC starting pitcher Brett Vansant. Shortstop Quinntin Perez led off the bottom of the first with a double. Vansant struck out Daniel Curiel, but the pitch got away from the catcher and Curiel reached on an errant throw by Mitch Sancier that allowed Perez to score the first run of the game. After Cordell Bowie reached first on an error, Ismael Hernandez singled home Curiel and moved Bowie to second. Two batters later, Brendan Gomez singled to load the bases. Then with two outs, catcher Reed Odland and left fielder Tanner Thompson delivered RBI-singles to make it 4-0 Bulldogs. A balk that allowed Gomez to trot home accounted for the fifth and final run of the frame.
The Bulldogs added another run in the second when Shusterich launched a ball over the wall for a solo-home run, his team-leading fourth of the season to push it to a 6-0 lead. SBCC inched closer with three runs on three hits off Cardinal in the fourth to cut the deficit in half. However, the Bulldogs responded with two of their own in the fourth on a RBI-double by Shusterich and a run-scoring single off the bat of Bowie to make it 8-3 Hancock.
SBCC scored twice in the ninth inning against reliever Phillip Martin.
Cardinal improved to 4-1 on the season with eight innings of work. He scattered eight hits, two walks and allowed three runs. He struck out at least one hitter every inning, including the side in the fourth to account for his season-high 11 punchouts.
Shusterich finished 3-for-4 with two runs scored, 2 RBI, one double and one home run.Perez, Curiel and Hernandez each went 2-for-5. Bowie, Hernandez, Odland and Thompson drove in one run apiece.
SBCC third baseman Jake Holton and second baseman Shane Hersh had three hits apiece. Sancier had two hits and 2 RBI, including a two-run home run against Cardinal.
The Bulldogs will head to SBCC for a 2 p.m. game on Thursday, March 8.
Hancock's conference game with Oxnard scheduled for Saturday, March 10, has been pushed up one day due to the weather forecasts. The Bulldogs will now host the Condors on Friday, March 9 at 2 p.m. The Hancock softball team's home game scheduled for Saturday, March 10, against Pasadena also has been rescheduled for Friday, March 9, at noon due to the weather.