The Pirates' baseball team received several strong pitching performances in their weekend series against Santa Barbara, but they had trouble scoring runs as VC dropped their three-game set against the Vaqueros. The Pirates fell by scores of 2-1 and 1-0 Saturday before falling 5-4 Sunday at Pirate Park. Hunter Jones and Cooper Smith both had outstanding starts on the mound of VC Saturday and Jared Hughes was solid for Ventura on Sunday, despite the three setbacks in the series.
Ventura 1, Santa Barbara 2
In Game 1 of a doubleheader Saturday in Santa Barbara, Jones pitched a gem through six innings. He allowed just two hits and walked three while fanning eight batters to start the game, holding SBCC scoreless.
The Pirates took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning with three singles and a sacrifice bunt. Andrew Savage singled deep to shortstop to open the inning before Aaron McLeod followed with a single to right field. Caden Stillwell sacrificed the runners into scoring position before Gage Allen followed with an RBI single. Unfortunately the rally stopped at that point with VC scoring just the single run.
Wilson Spinks came on in relief in the seventh inning, retiring the side in order before running into trouble in the eighth. The Vaqueros scored the tying run in the frame before Sebastian Garcia closed out the inning on the mound.
SBCC then scored the walk-off run with one out in the bottom of the ninth for the 2-1 win.
Ventura had plenty of baserunners in the game, led by Reiss Calvin and Yuki Kawashima, who each had two hits and two walks. Haiden Letzing also had a pair of singles in the game, but Ventura was unable to sustain any rally in the narrow defeat.
Ventura 0, Santa Barbara 1
In the second game of the twin-bill Saturday, the Pirate bats all but fell silent, as VC was limited to six hits, all singles.
Smith had another string outing on the mound throwing seven complete frames, allowing seven hits and two earned runs while striking out seven with no walks. Ryan Sweeney pitched a scoreless eighth for the Pirates, who were shut out for just the second time this season.
Ventura 4, Santa Barbara 5
VC returned to Pirate Park on Sunday March 19 to complete the three game set with Santa Barbara.
The Vaqueros took the initial lead with a run in the top of the fourth inning, and Ventura promptly answered. With one out in the bottom of the fourth, Savage walked and moved to second on a wild pitch. McLeod also walked before Stillwell reached base on a botched throw on a possible double play. McLeod was forced out at second and Savage scored on the play to tie the game at 1-1.
In the next column, Kawashima drew a two out walk and stole second, moving to third on a throwing error by the catcher. Pinch hitter Matthew Beach followed with an RBI single for a 2-1 VC lead after five complete.
After SBCC tied the game in the top of the sixth, Ventura retook the lead with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the frame. Savage led off with a double, then moved to third on a groundout to the right side. One out later, Allen was hit by a pitch, and Bryce Elias hit an RBI single. After a pitching change, Calvin singled to load the bases, and the runners then moved ahead 90 feet on a wild pitch, scoring Allen. Unfortunately, the Pirates could not get another clutch hit and they settled for the 4-2 advantage.
Hughes started the game on the mound for VC, and pitched through six innings, scattering six hits and allowing two runs. He yielded to the Ventura bullpen in the seventh.
Santa Barbara took advantage of the pitching change, scoring three runs in the seventh, and held on for the 5-4 win.
Kawashima led the Pirates at the plate with two hits, including a double, and two walks, scoring a run. Savage had a double and a single in the game with a pair of bases on balls, scoring twice. Calvin also had two hits in the game.
Ventura is set to host Rio Hondo on Tuesday March 21, weather permitting for a 1:00 pm game at Pirate Park.