Freshman Trevor Garcia struck out eight and threw his first collegiate complete game, but the Allan Hancock College baseball team stranded 12 runners on base in a 2-1 loss at home to Merced in a non-conference game on Tuesday afternoon. Hancock fell to 17-18 overall, while Merced, ranked No. 17 in the North Regional, improved to 19-15-1. The two teams will face off again at 2 PM on Thursday to close Hancock's annual Spring Classic, which runs Wednesday and Thursday. Games will be played at Cuesta, Hancock, and Elks Field in Santa Maria.
Merced tied it in the fifth when Daiya Katsu hit a two-out single, stole second and scored the equalizer on a RBI-single from Garrett Nishihama. The Blue Devils scored the go-ahead run in the sixth when Tyler Butterfield singled and advanced to third on a Hancock error. He later scored on a fielder's choice to account for the one-run differential.
The Bulldogs put a runner in scoring position in the final three innings, but could not get the clutch hit when they needed it. In the bottom of the ninth, Chris Tani walked, stole second, and moved to third on a one-out single from Travis Welker. However, Merced's Clayton Hall struck out the next two hitters to seal the victory.
Garcia took the loss despite limiting Merced to just four hits, two runs, one of them earned, and two walks. He struck out nine to tie his career high.
Blake Maddux earned the win for Merced, throwing six innings of one-run ball. He allowed six Hancock hits, walked one, and struck out six. Hall threw three innings of shutout ball, scattering three hits, one walk, and striking out three.
Hancock finished with nine hits, two apiece by Tani and Davey Demeter.
The Bulldogs face East L.A. on Wednesday at 2:30 PM for their Classic opener.
The entire schedule is listed below:
Wednesday, April 17
2 PM Cuesta vs. Cypress @ Cuesta
2 PM Merced vs. Canyons @ Elks Field
2:30 PM Hancock vs. East L.A. @ Hancock
6 PM Cerritos vs. Fresno @ Elks Field
Thursday, April 18
10:30 AM Cypress vs. Canyons @ Hancock
12 PM East L.A. vs. Fresno @ Elks Field
2 PM Cuesta vs. Cerritos @ Cuesta
2 PM Hancock vs. Merced @ Hancock
Home teams are listed first.