Santa Barbara City College rallied for three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to hand Allan Hancock College a heartbreaking 6-5 loss in a key Western State Conference game on Thursday afternoon. After their toughest loss of the season, Hancock dropped to 6-8 in conference and 14-16 overall. The Vaqueros handed Hancock its sixth straight loss to even its league record to 7-7 and 14-11 for the season.
The Bulldogs wasted no time getting on the board when Travis Welker was hit by a pitch and moved to second on a wild pitch. After Reed Odland was hit by another pitch, he and Welker moved up 90 feet on a wild pitch. Jake Shusterich drew a two-out walk to load the bases. With Travis Garcia at the plate, Jake McBride uncorked his third wild pitch of the frame to allow Welker to score the game's first run.
Aided by three SBCC errors, the Bulldogs erupted for four runs in the third against relief pitcher Jake Aldrich. Welker and Odland led off with singles. Welker scored when Ismael Hernandez reached on an error to make it 2-0 Hancock. Shusterich followed with a double to right-center to plate Odland for the third run of the game. The inning continued with Garcia reaching on an error by the SBCC centerfielder to allow Hernandez to score to make it 4-0 Bulldogs. After Mike McLean drew a walk to load the bases, Aldrich hit Ryan Pearce to force in Shusterich to cap the four-run inning and give the Bulldogs a 5-0 advantage.
Hancock starting pitcher Dylan Kelley was kept SBCC's bats quiet until the fifth when Logan Pollack hit a RBI-single to make it a 5-1 game. Nick Trifiletti clubbed a two-run home run against Kelley in the seventh to pull the Vaqueros to within two runs.
Kelley allowed three runs and six hits over six-plus innings. The freshman walked one and struck out four, exiting the game with a 5-3 lead. Daxton Miller threw 1 2/3 innings of shutout relief, allowing one hit and striking out one for the Bulldogs. Hancock carried a 5-3 lead into the bottom of the ninth when SBCC rallied against Hernandez as Nicholas Prainito doubled in a run, and Pollack singled down the line in right to drive in another to tie it up at 5-5. Hernandez intentionally walked the next hitter to load the bases with one down and set up a double play or force out at the plate. Tommy Holguin ended the game with a run-scoring single to right-centerfield to prompt a SBCC celebration.
Odland and Shusterich had two hits apiece to lead Hancock's seven-hit attack. Welker scored two runs, while Jeff Ray, Odland, and Shusterich all hit doubles.
Hernandez took the loss to fall to 3-4. The sophomore allowed three runs and four hits in 2/3 of an inning.
Aldrich earned the win for SBCC, throwing seven innings of relief with 10 strikeouts. He scattered six hits, four runs, two earned, and issued two walks. Three Vaqueros had two hits apiece to account for half of SBCC's 12 hits.
The Bulldogs will travel to Oxnard (5-10, 12-17-1) on Saturday, April 6, for a 1 p.m. conference battle with the Condors. The Bulldogs won their two meetings with Oxnard last month.