Sophomores Josh Tonascia and Chad Jones delivered the tying- and go-ahead hits in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift the Allan Hancock College baseball team to a 4-3 come-from-behind win over Moorpark in a key Western State Conference game on Tuesday afternoon at John Osborne Field. The Bulldogs evened their conference record at 8-8 and 19-17 overall. Hancock moved to 15-4 at home this season. Moorpark fell to 9-7 in league and 20-15 on the year. The Bulldogs sit in fourth place in the Western State Conference standings, one game behind second-place Moorpark and Ventura, and 1.5 games behind first-place Santa Barbara.
Hancock carried a 2-1 lead into the eighth inning, but the Raiders rallied for two unearned runs against Hancock relief pitcher Ismael Hernandez to take a 3-2 lead. The Bulldogs responded in the bottom half as Jake Shusterich lef off with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt laid down by pinch hitter Davy Demeter and advanced to third on a grounder. With two outs, Brendan Gomez was hit by a pitch to extend the inning. That set the stage for Tonascia, who answered with a two-out, run-scoring single to score Shusterich and tie the game at 3-3. Moorpark went to the bullpen to relieve starter Andrew Nardi, but Jones welcomed John Cini to the game with a single to drive in Gomez with the game-winning run.
Sophomore Phillip Martin set down the Raiders in order to earn his first save of the season and preserve the victory for the Bulldogs.
Hancock outhit the Raiders nine to seven. Gomez went 2-for-3 and scored twice, while Tonascia went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI. Dylan Maiden went 1-for-3 with a RBI triple in the third inning that scored Hancock's first run to tie the game at 1-1.
The Bulldogs took their first lead of the game in the fourth inning when Gomez legged out a two-out triple. He scored on a groundball off the bat of Tonascia that was misplayed by the Moorpark third baseman.
Zach Torra started on the mound for Hancock and left with the Bulldogs leading 2-1. The left-hander allowed just four hits and one run over six innings. He struck out six and walked three batters. Phil Almanza threw a scoreless seventh inning. Hernandez allowed two unearned runs and three hits in one inning of relief. Martin retired all three batters he faced in the ninth to pick up his first collegiate save.
Jason Hyman led the Raiders with three hits and one RBI.
Hancock returns to action at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 19 at second-place Ventura. The Bulldogs will host the Pirates on Saturday at 1 p.m.