Emily Gantt slugged a grand slam and Shannon Peterson collected three hits and 2 RBI to lead the first-place Allan Hancock College softball team to an 8-3 win at Santa Barbara City College Thursday. Hancock improved to 15-3 in Western State Conference play and 23-11 overall. The Vaqueros fell to 11-9 in conference and 18-15 overall. Hancock won all three conference meetings this season against SBCC.
Hancock scored the first run of the game in the second inning when pinch runner Sierra Martinez sprinted home on a wild pitch. The Bulldogs erupted for six more in the fourth against SBCC pitcher Calista Wendell. Peterson singled down the left-field line to score pinch runner Elena De La Paz. Nakaila Fuggs drew a walk with the bases loaded to force in Hancock's second run of the inning. Gantt followed as a pinch hitter and crushed the ball over the left-center field wall to clear the bases and give Hancock a 7-0 lead.
Santa Barbara City College scored three times in the fourth against Hancock starting pitcher Bailey Killough. However, the freshman pitcher did not allow another run the rest of the way. Killough scattered eight hits and five walks over seven innings. The Arroyo Grande High School graduate struck out five and went 1-for-3 with a walk at the plate.
Peterson singled in Myranda Morales in the fifth to account for the Bulldogs' eighth run. Peterson finished 3-for-4 with 2 RBI and scored once. Shortstop Larrissa Ostrander went 2-for-4. The Bulldogs and Vaqueros had eight hits apiece.
The Bulldogs started the day with a 1.5-game lead over second-place Ventura and a two-game edge on Cuesta. Ventura and Cuesta were scheduled to play at Cuesta on Thursday.
Hancock will be back in action Tuesday, April 18, when the Bulldogs travel to L.A. Pierce for a WSC doubleheader.