Freshmen Jeff Ray and Travis Welker drove in two runs apiece, while Ismael Hernandez collected three hits to back a solid start from Jake Shusterich as the Allan Hancock College baseball team opened a five-game homestand with an 8-3 win over Moorpark on Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs moved to 9-9 in Western State Conference play and 17-17 overall. Hancock took the season series with the Raiders 3-1. Moorpark fell to 7-11 in league and 13-20 on the year.
Hancock opened the scoring in the third inning. Mike McLean and Chris Tani hit one-out singles, and Ray knocked in McLean with a RBI-double for the game's first run. Tani moved to third on the double and scored on a Travis Welker grounder to push Hancock's lead to 2-0.
The Bulldogs broke out for four more in the fourth. Shusterich singled, moved to second on a wild pitch and advanced to third on Hernandez's single. Zach Rudd followed with a run-scoring single to make it 3-0. Freshman Tristen Gutierrez walked to load the bases. McLean forced in Hernandez by drawing a walk. Tani followed with a RBI-single, and Ray hit a sacrifice fly to center field to cap the four-run inning and give the Bulldogs a 6-0 advantage.
Shusterich kept Moorpark off the scoreboard until the sixth when the Raiders scored three times to cut the deficit in half. Freshman Isaac Baez recorded the final two outs of the sixth to limit the damage.
Hancock got one back in the bottom half when Ray clubbed a two-out double and raced home on a RBI-single by Welker. The Santa Ynez High School graduate started a two-out rally in the eighth when he doubled with nobody aboard. Reed Odland singled to drive in Welker to cap the scoring at 8-3.
Welker and Ray both finished 2-for-5 with 2 RBI. Ray hit two doubles. Hernandez went 3-for-4. Tani went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Eight Bulldogs collected at least one hit as Hancock finished with 13 hits.
Shusterich earned the win with 5 1/3 innings of work. The sophomore allowed three hits and three unearned runs. He walked two and struck out three. Baez threw 2 2/3 shutout innings with two strikeouts. Hernandez fanned two in a scoreless ninth inning. The three Hancock pitchers limited Moorpark to four hits.
James Terrazas went 1-for-4 and drove in both Moorpark runs.
Also on Saturday, Cuesta defeated Ventura 4-1 to force a three-way tie for first place in the Western State Conference. Cuesta, Ventura, and Santa Barbara City are all 11-7 in league. The Bulldogs are two games back at 9-9.
The Bulldogs continue their homestand at 2:30 PM on Tuesday, April 16, against Modesto in a non-conference game. Merced and Hancock are two of the eight teams playing in the Bulldogs' annual Spring Classic that runs Wednesday, April 17 and Thursday, April 18. Six of the eight were ranked in the latest regional rankings released last week: Fresno, No. 8 in North; Merced, No. 17 in North; Cypress, No. 4 in South; Cuesta, No. 9 in South; Canyons, No. 19 in South; Hancock, No. 20 in South.
Games will be played at Cuesta, Hancock, and Elks Field in Santa Maria. The Bulldogs face East L.A. on Wednesday at 2:30 PM to open the classic.