Center fielder Zach Rudd pounded out three hits, but the Allan Hancock College baseball team dropped its regular season finale 3-1 at Ventura on Thursday, missing out on a chance to spoil the Pirates' quest for a Western State Conference title. The Bulldogs finished the 2019 season 9-11 in conference and 19-20. With the victory, Ventura clinched a share of its first Western State Conference title since 2006. The Pirates, 25-14 overall, finished tied for first with Santa Barbara City College at 13-7 in conference. The Vaqueros beat Moorpark in their conference final, securing a piece of their third league title in the last five years.
Hancock freshman Dylan Kelley threw seven solid innings, scattering six hits and three runs. He walked three and struck out two Pirates. Sophomore Jake Shusterich threw a scoreless eighth inning and struck out one.
Ventura scored single runs in the first and third innings to take an early 2-0 lead. Hancock's offense came to life in the third when Elijah Diggins pinch hit and was hit by a pitch, Davey Demeter singled, and Trevor Garcia singled to load the bases with no outs against starting pitcher Jackson Hickert. Ryker Kennepohl entered the game and induced a double play off the bat of Reed Odland that allowed Diggins to score to make it a 2-1 game. A second Ventura reliever, Brent Dickey, retired the next batter to end the threat.
Hancock put one base runner on in each of the final two innings, but could not get any closer on the scoreboard.
Rudd recorded three singles for his ninth multi-hit game of the season. He accounted for three of Hancock's five hits. Demeter and Garcia also delivered singles.
First baseman Junior Sandoval went 2-for-4 with an RBI to lead the Pirates' seven-hit attack. Hickert earned the win for Ventura, scattering one hit and four runs with six strikeouts over six-plus innings.
Santa Barbara and Ventura will represent the WSC-North in the 2019 Regional Playoffs. The brackets will be released on April 28.