Travis Weston had another strong outing on the mound, pitching seven innings while giving up three runs, two earned, while striking out five in the Pirates' 8-3 victory at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria Tuesday afternoon.Riley Langerman was 3-4 at the plate with two runs scored and a pair of runs batted in while Baylor Tovar had three hits, including two doubles, while scoring twice with an RBI. Jacob Harris was also 3-4 on the day. The Pirates (24-14, 12-7) are tied atop the Western State Conference North Division standings with Santa Barbara while Cuesta sits one game back with one game left to play.
Ventura struggled at the plate early. TJ Foreman singled and stole second in the first inning, adding to his record theft count, but was stranded there after a pair of strikeouts to retire the side. The Bulldogs retired 10 VC batters in a row through the fourth inning before Zane Chittenden's base hit ended the skid. The Pirates trailed 3-0 after four innings as AHC scored single runs in the first, second and fourth frames.
VC finally got things untracked in the fifth inning. Tovar led off with a double, and advanced to third on a groundout. He then scored on Langerman's single.Harris then singled, and Foreman reached base on a fielder's choice, on which Langerman moved to third base. both runners advanced 90 feet on an error by the catcher, with Langerman scoring to make it 3-2 for Hancock.
Th Pirates then broke the game open in the sixth inning, scoring six runs to take control. AJ Medrano got things started with a single, and Chittenden reached base on an error moving Medrano to third. Junior Sandoval followed with a double and an RBI, scoring Medrano, then Tovar doubled for two more Ventura runs. One out later, Langerman singled home Tovar. Harris then singled, and Foreman reached base on an error to load the bases before Gabe Baldovino walked in a run. Medrano finished the inning reaching on a fielder's choice scoring Harris before the Bulldogs doubled the play up to end the inning.
Weston then finished up the seventh on the hill before giving way to Ryker Kennepohl and Brent Dickey in the eighth. Noah Bullard pitched the ninth to close the door on Hancock and seal the Pirate victory.
Ventura hosts the Bulldogs on Thursday April 25 in the conference finale. First pitch at Pirate Park is scheduled for 2:30 pm. VC closes the regular season on Friday April 26 at Cerritos.