The Pirate baseball team veered off course a bit on Thursday with a 5-2 loss to Cuesta at Pirate Park. Gabe Baldovino and Ethan Balolong each had two hits in the game while Jackson Hickert pitched seven innings with six strikeouts, yielding a pair of unearned runs in the hard-luck loss. Despite the setback, VC (20-13, 11-6) still leads the Cougars and Santa Barbara City College by a game in the conference standings.
It was a pitcher's dual early with both teams having trouble finding any rhythm on offense. The Pirates broke through in the bottom of the fifth to break the scoreless tie, without a hit. VC loaded the bases on a fielder's choice and two walks before TJ Foreman scored the game's fist run on a wild pitch for a 1-0 Ventura advantage.
With two outs in the top of the fifth inning, the Cougars plated two runs on two errors to take a 2-1 lead. The followed that up with a three-run eighth inning to make the score 5-1.
VC staged a two-out rally to get back one run in the bottom half of the eighth. Junior Sandoval walked and Baylor Tovar followed with a single to move Sandoval to third. After a pitching change Balolong had an RBI single to set the final 5-2 margin.
The Pirates, who had won four games in a row and eight of their lat nine coming into the game, were held below eight runs for just the second time in ten outings. VC managed just eight hits in the game.
Ventura closes the season series with Cuesta on Saturday April 13 in San Luis Obispo. First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 pm.