Jake Holton's sacrifice fly in the top of the eighth inning broke a 1-1 tie to give the Santa Barbara City College baseball team a 2-1 win at No. 15 Allan Hancock College on Saturday afternoon in a Western State Conference game. The Bulldogs fell to 6-6 in conference and 17-15 overall. Santa Barbara moved to 6-5 in league and 15-16 on the season. The two teams split the season series 2-2.
Hancock starting pitcher Nic Cardinal and the Vaqueros' William Blackburn clashed in a pitchers' duel. Cardinal kept the Vaqueros off the board until Holton hit a solo home run in the top of the fourth to give SBCC a 1-0 lead. Blackburn allowed one hit and struck out four in five shutout innings for SBCC.
Hancock finally broke through in the sixth against reliever Steven Elliott. Shane Flaningam was hit by a pitch and Dylan Maiden drew a walk to lead off the frame against Elliott. Zac Fernandez pinch ran for Flaningam. Both runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Chad Jones. Jake Shusterich drove in Fernandez with a sacrifice fly to left field to tie it 1-1. Hancock could not extend the rally and stranded two men on base.
SBCC broke through in the eighth and loaded the bases with one out against Cardinal by virtue of an error and two walks. Ismael Hernandez came in from the bullpen to relieve Cardinal to face Holton, who hit a sacrifice fly to right to allow the go-ahead run to score.
The Bulldogs put two men aboard in both the eighth and ninth innings, but could not push the tying run across the plate.
Cardinal took the loss for the Bulldogs to fall to 4-2. The sophomore scattered six hits and two runs, only one of which was earned, over 7 1/3 innings. He walked three and struck out four. Hernandez threw 1 2/3 innings of shutout relief with one strikeout.
Yeager George earned the win in relief with 2 1/3 innings of relief and four strikeouts. Holton earned the save with a scoreless ninth inning.
SBCC finished with six hits. Holton earned the save and went 1-for-3 at the plate with a home run and 2 RBI.
SBCC, Ventura and Moorpark are in a three-way tie for first place with 6-5 conference records. Hancock and Cuesta, both 6-6 in league, are a half game behind.
Hancock returns to action on Tuesday, April 10 when Oxnard visit John Osborne Field at 3 p.m.