Jan. 29—Through two games this season, Hancock College's baseball team has shown a little bit of everything.
In the season opener on Thursday, Hancock showed it can win low-scoring games dominated by pitchers.
On Friday, the Bulldogs proved they can score and play from behind, too, though a big rally wasn't enough to top College of the Sequoias in a 9-8 loss.
Hancock was down 6-0 through five innings at John Osborne Field in Santa Maria. The Bulldogs woke up in the bottom of the six, scoring three times to cut the Giants' lead in half.
COS added a run in the top of the eighth inning to go up 7-3 before Hancock answered with four more runs of its own in the bottom half of the inning to tie the game at 7.
However, the Giants just wouldn't quit, tacking on a pair of runs in the top of the ninth. Hancock was able to add a run in the bottom of the final inning, but a double play shut down a would-be-rally.
The teams are set to close out their three-game set on Saturday with a game at 12 p.m.
The Giants pounded out 12 hits in the win and committed a single error. Hancock needed only six hits to score eight times, though the Bulldogs committed a pair of errors on defense.
Hancock lead-off man Jake Steels went 2-for-5 with two runs and a triple. Evan Steinberger, a freshman catcher from Dos Pueblos, had a big three-run homer in the sixth and finished with four RBIs on the day.
Lompoc High grad Kalub Ramirez had a crucial pinch hit two-run single. Right fielder Trenton Pallas scored twice, as did Steinberger, who walked twice.
Luke Wenzel and Vander Hodges each committed errors for Hancock.
Nate Wenzel started on the mound for the Bulldogs and was strong until COS scored once in the fourth and five times in the fifth. Wenzel went 4 2/3 innings, allowing five hits, five earned runs while striking out three and walking two.
Christian Djikman took the loss, allowing four hits and two earned runs in one inning of work in the ninth.
Giants designated hitter Chase Gomez went 3-for-5 with two RBIs and a run. Lee Trevino, Flavio Perez, Elijah Cortez and Nate Gilson each had two hits. Gilson, Perez and Gomez each drove in two runs. Trevino scored twice as the Giants stranded eight runners on the day.
Mike McKernan, Gomez, Perez (2), Cortez and Gilson each had a double as the Giants pounded out six on the day.
COS starter Anfernee Murrieta was solid, going four innings without allowing a hit while walking three and striking out one. Rider Hartman gave up three earned runs over three innings of relief work while JT Friesen earned the win despite allowing four runs on three hits over the final two innings.
Steels led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a triple and Pallas reached base after getting hit by a pitch, but Jacob Ruley grounded into a 4-6-3 double play that scored Steels. Steinberger walked before Joey Freitas became the game's final out on a putout to first base.
Steinberger's three-run home run came in the bottom of the sixth with two outs. Pallas and Ruley each singled with two outs to bring Steinberger up and the freshman catcher's blast brought home three runs to make the score 6-3.
After COS went up 7-3 in the eight, Steels started the eighth-inning rally with a single and Pallas kept it going by getting hit by a pitch. Steinberger then reached on an error and Steels scored. Parker Haskell then walked with the bases loaded to score Pallas and make the score 7-5.
Ramirez came to the plate and smacked a single that scored Freitas and Steinberger to tie the game.
In the top of the ninth, Perez doubled home Friesen to put the Giants back up and Gilson doubled in Cortez for a two-run cushion that Hancock wasn't able to overcome even with Steels' lead-off triple in the ninth.
Vance Serrano was solid in relief for Hancock, going 1 1/3 innings while allowing two hits and no runs. Nipomo grad Ricardo Rodriguez was particularly strong in his two innings of work, allowing just one hit and no earned runs for the Bulldogs.
In Thursday's opener, Hancock allowed just five hits while recording nine of its own. Sophomore starter Matthew Gonzales was solid in that one, going six innings while allowing just one earned run on four hits, striking out six.
Hancock opener postponed
Hancock will not open its softball season on Feb. 1 as scheduled.
The opener against Coalinga West Hills was postponed due to low number of players at West Hills.
A make-up date is TBD. Hancock is scheduled to play Taft on Friday, Feb. 4 at home at 12 p.m. in a doubleheader.