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Freshman first baseman Tristen Gutierrez delivered a two-run single in the bottom of the ninth inning to give Hancock's baseball team its first walk-off win since the season opener on Thursday.

The Bulldogs came from behind to beat Merced, the No. 17 team in the North Region, 2-1 to end Hancock’s annual Spring Classic in dramatic fashion.

Hancock, which fell to the Blue Devils by the same score on Tuesday, improved to 19-18 overall. Merced fell to 20-16-1. 

Merced’s Joe Blair started the ninth inning looking to hold the Blue Devils’ 1-0 lead. Blair hit the first two batters he faced, Reed Odland and Jake Shusterich.

Matthew Grossi replaced Blair on the mound. Ismael Hernandez laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance both runners into scoring position. Merced intentionally walked Mike McLean to load the bases, setting the stage for Gutierrez.

The Santa Maria High School graduate delivered with the walk-off hit, giving Hancock its third win of the season after trailing to start the ninth inning.

McLean went 2-for-3 with a walk to account for half of the Bulldogs’ four hits.

Jake Shusterich singled in two at-bats. He also threw six solid innings for the Bulldogs. The sophomore allowed three hits and one run.

Isaac Baez earned the win in relief after throwing three scoreless innings of relief. The St. Joseph High School product walked a pair and struck out two. 

Clayton Hall hit a RBI double to account for Merced’s only run of the game in the sixth inning. 

Hancock closes the home portion of its schedule April 23 in a conference game with Ventura.

First pitch is at 2:30 p.m.

Ventura, Cuesta, and Santa Barbara are in a three-way tie for first place in the Western State Conference at 11-7. The Bulldogs are two games back at 9-9 in league with two conference games remaining. 

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