Jake Shusterich collected a career-high five hits, and sophomore Dylan Maiden earned his first four-hit game to lead the Allan Hancock College baseball team to an 8-3 win at Ventura in a Western State Conference showdown on Thursday. Hancock improved to 9-8 in Western State Conference play and 20-17 overall. The Bulldogs reached the 20-win mark for the first time since 2014. Ventura dropped to 9-8 in conference and 19-18 on the year. The Bulldogs and Pirates are tied for third place, one game back of first-place Moorpark and a half game back of second-place Santa Barbara.
Hancock took the lead for good in the top of the first when Maiden singled, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Daniel Curiel and scored on a RBI-single from Shusterich. Hancock added two runs in the fourth. The first came on a grounder by Reed Odland that scored Brendan Gomez. Maiden doubled home Chad Jones to give Hancock a 3-0 lead. Shusterich singled to lead off the fifth and later raced home on a two-out triple off the bat of Gomez to push Hancock's lead to 4-0. Josh Tonascia followed with a RBI-single to plate Gomez and make it 5-0 Bulldogs.
The Pirates scored twice in the fifth against Fernandes to cut the deficit to 5-2. Hancock responded with a RBI-double from Josh Harmonay in the seventh to regain a 6-2 advantage. After Ventura scored an unearned run in the seventh, the Bulldogs rallied for two runs in the eighth on RBI-singles from Curiel and Shusterich.
Shusterich went 5-for-5 with 2 RBI, a double, triple and scored twice. Maiden finished 4-for-6 with an RBI, two doubles and two runs scored. Gomez finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored, an RBI, one triple and two walks. Eight Bulldogs collected at least one hit to account for Hancock's 16-hit attack. The Bulldogs collected eight extra-base hits, six of which were doubles.
Right-handed pitcher Jeff Fernandes earned his first collegiate win in his second start of the season. The Arroyo Grande High School graduate scattered four hits and two runs over five innings. He struck out three and walked two. Jesse Gasca allowed an unearned run in 1 1/3 innings of relief. Phillip Martin earned the save for the second straight game. The sophomore struck out two and allowed one hit over 2 2/3 shutout innings.
The Bulldogs return home to host the Pirates at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 21, at John Osborne Field. Moorpark hosts SBCC on Saturday.