The Hancock College softball team earned a share of the Western State Conference championship last year, and the Bulldogs are off to a strong start in their WSC campaign this year.
Freshman Zaiden Bakke drove in the go-ahead run in the fifth inning to lead the Bulldogs (11-3-1, 2-0) to a WSC win at Santa Barbara.
The Vaqueros dropped to 8-8, 0-2.
Bailey Killough hit a two-run double for the Bulldogs and gave up just one earned run as she pitched a complete game. Killough is 5-1 as a pitcher this year.
She scattered six hits. Killough stranded two SBCC runners in the fifth innning, another in the sixth and finished by setting the Vaqueros down in order in the seventh.
Mallory Townsend went 3-for-4 and scored twice for Hancock. Bakke and Hancock catcher Alyssa Gonzalez both had two hits.
Hancock 5, Taft 4
Freshman Hancock lefty Zach Torra struck out eight and the Bulldogs (9-7) held off the Cougars (7-7) to stay perfect on the year at home.
The Bulldogs are 8-0 on their diamond.
Quinntin Perez tripled in a run in the fourth to push the Hancock lead to 4-2. Jake Shusterich led off the bottom of the fifth with a single and scored all the way from first on a Cordell Bowie double for the eventual winning run.
Taft pushed across two runs in the eighth that were charged to Hancock reliever Phillip Martin, but Ismael Hernandez struck out Wesley Herbert with the potential tying run on base to end the threat.
Hernandez retired the side in order in the ninth to earn his fifth save of the year and his second in as many days.
Shusterich hit a solo shot in the bottom of the first to start the scoring. He went 3-for-3 with an RBI, two runs scored and one walk.
Arroyo Grande 15, Santa Ynez 3
Michael Atherton swept three singles sets, and Austin Bricker and Dylan Black teamed for three doubles wins as the Eagles beat the Pirates in a non-league match.
Atherton swept his sets 6-3, 6-0, 6-3. Bricker and Black swept 6-3, 6-0, 6-1.
Santa Ynez 2, Cabrillo 0
Two games into the Los Padres League campaign, the Pirates' pitching staff has yet to allow a run.
This time, Daniel Atcheson and Cole Knightley combined for a three-hitter at Cabrillo. Atcheson, the starter, gave up two hits in his five innings of work. Knightley finished with two innings of one-hit relief for the Pirates (3-1, 2-0).
Knightley and Colin Jamison drove in the Santa Ynez runs.
Nipomo 25, Coast Union 4
The Nipomo Titans struck for 17 runs in the fourth inning on the way to a non-league softball victory over the Coast Union Broncos in a game shortened to five innings because of the run rule.
The Titans and starting pitcher Mimi Wolf both evened their records at 1-1 in Wolf’s complete-game victory.
Nipomo scored four runs in the first inning, two more in both the second and third before blowing the game open in the fourth.
“Coast Union has a pretty good starting pitcher,” said Nipomo head coach Matt Paradis. “She tossed their first three innings and then they brought in a reliever in the fourth and she just struggled.”
Nipomo sophomore Alijah went 3-for-3 with four RBI; sophomore Micayla Mendez went 3-for-3 with five RBA; and freshman catcher Karley Camacho went 3-for-3 with two doubles and 3 RBI.
Weather permitting; Nipomo is set to host Mission Prep in a doubleheader Saturday.