Jake Shusterich and Daniel Curiel each collected two hits, but the Allan Hancock College baseball team dropped its final regular season game of the season 8-2 to rival Cuesta College on Thursday afternoon at John Osborne Field. Hancock missed out on an opportunity to clinch a playoff spot with a win. The Bulldogs finished the season 10-10 in Western State Conference play and 21-19 overall. Cuesta evened its league record at 10-10 and 21-17 on the season. Cuesta, Ventura and Hancock finished the regular season tied for third place. Santa Barbara defeated Ventura Thursday to clinch a postseason berth and second place in the conference standings, behind first-place Moorpark.
The Bulldogs took the early lead with a run in the first against Cuesta starting pitcher Cole Tucker. Curiel walked and stole second. Shusterich punched a basehit to center to drive in Curiel to give Hancock a 1-0 lead.
Hancock starting pitcher Nic Cardinal carried the 1-0 lead into the fourth inning. Cuesta took the lead for good in the fourth on a RBI-double by catcher Garrett Brown, a run-scoring single by Chandler Hughes and a RBI-grounder off the bat of Andrew Navigato.
Cuesta added a pair of runs in the seventh and three more in the eighth inning to build an 8-1 lead. Hancock got a run back in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Dylan Maiden.
The Bulldogs finished with six hits, two apiece by Curiel and Shusterich. Sophomore Chad Jones added a double and Josh Harmonay singled for Hancock. Mason Grotto and Alec Smith led the Cougars' 12-hit attack with three hits apiece.
Cardinal took the loss after allowing five runs, four of them earned, and eight hits over 6 2/3 innings. The right-hander walked ive and struck out two. Jeff Fernandes allowed two runs in 1/3 of an inning and Jesse Gasca was charged with one in 1/3 of an inning. Shusterich struck out one over 1 2/3 innings of relief.
The Bulldogs finished the season with 21 wins, reaching the 20-win mark for the first time in four seasons.
Hancock will look to earn an at-large berth to the postseason on Sunday when the regional brackets are released.