The Allan Hancock College softball team was three outs away from handing first-place Bakersfield its first Western State Conference loss of the season. But two Bulldog errors contributed to three unearned runs in the seventh inning as Bakersfield came from behind to stun Hancock 6-5 on Thursday afternoon in Santa Maria. The Bulldogs, who led 4-1 in the fourth inning, dropped to 5-8 in Western State Conference play and 9-18 on the season. Bakersfield remained perfect in WSC action, improving to 13-0 in league and 20-16 overall. The Renegades clinched at least a share of their second-straight conference title.
Bakersfield scored once in the top of the first against Hancock starting pitcher Shaylyn Coy. The Bulldogs answered with two of their own in the bottom half against Bakersfield ace Kylee Fahy, the conference leader in wins and strikeouts. Coy singled in Crystal Gonzales, who led off with a double. Adiana Pacheco reached on a Bakersfield error, which allowed Zaiden Bakke to race home and give Hancock a 2-1 lead.
The Bulldogs added to their lead in the third when Bakke doubled, moved to third on a grounder and scored on a passed ball. Later, Jayden Andrade reached on a Bakersfield error, allowing Mackenzie Caspian, who had singled, to score to push the Hancock lead to 4-1.
Bakersfield inched closer with single runs in the fourth and fifth, pulling to within 4-3 after six innings. The Renegades loaded the bases with one out in the top of the seventh when two Hancock errors allowed the tying- and go-ahead runs to score. A double from Atlantis Rede drove in another run to cap the three-run rally and give Bakersfield the lead 6-4, its first lead since the first inning. Hancock made things interesting in the bottom half as Sabrina Ornelas led off with a single and stole second. The conference's stolen base leader later scored on a grounder off the bat of Coy to pull Hancock to within one. Fahy retired the next hitter to end the game.
Gonzales led the Bulldogs with two hits, including one double. Bakke, Ornelas, Coy, and Caspian each had one hit. Coy drove in two runs, but took the loss in the circle. The freshman scattered seven hits, six runs, three of them earned, over seven inning. She walked four and struck out four.
Alexandria Venegas had two of Bakersfield's seven hits. Fahy issued three walks, six hits, and five runs over seven innings. She struck out 13 batters.
Hancock hosts Taft at 12 PM on Friday, April 12. The Cougars are 8-25 overall after falling 7-1 to Fresno on Thursday.