After plating four runs in the top of the sixth inning, the Pirate baseball team held a 7-1 advantage over Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria Thursday, but could not make it hold up as the Bulldogs came back for an 8-7 victory. Tony Fonzo was 2-4 with a pair of doubles and two runs scored to lead Ventura.
Fonzo got things started out well for the Pirates with a lead-off double in the second. He went to third on Dylan Colman's single, and scored on a ground out by Taylor Campos, putting VC ahead 1-0. The Pirates picked up an unearned run in the fourth when Colman advanced to second base on an error by the center fielder, and came home when Michael Volaski reached base on an error, all with two outs.
Hancock came back with one run in the bottom of the fourth, but Ventura reclaimed it in the next half inning. With two outs in the fifth, Adam Maciel was hit by a pitch, stole second, and came home on Vinny Avila's single. The Pirates led 3-1 after five.
Ventura appeared to take control ion the top of the sixth inning, scoring four runs. Fonzo led off with a double, and Colman walked. Volaski reached base on a fielder's choice and error which scored Fonzo. After Campos sacrificed the runners to second and third, Bulldog fielding woes helped again as Colman and Volaski scored on a fielder's choice and error off the bat of Ryan Coker, who ended up in scoring position on the play. He scored a batter later when Maciel singled, making the tally 7-1 for the Pirates.
THen the wheels came off for VC. Starting pitcher Jackson Simonsgaard, who had been solid through five frames, only managed one out in the sixth while giving up five runs. Hancock scored two more times in the seventh inning to take the lead and the game, 8-7.
THe Pirates will attempt to avoid the season sweep against the Bulldogs Saturday March 21 at Pirate Park. First pitch with the Bulldogs is scheduled for 1:00 pm.