Justin Bruce shuts down Allan Hancock, City College wins 2-0

City+College%E2%80%99s+Justin+Bruce+%28No.+11%29+throws+a+pitch+during+the+game+against+Allan+Hancock+College+Saturday%2C+March+14%2C+2015+at+Pershing+Park%2C+Santa+Barbara.+%22Big+conference+win.+I+just+had+to+go+out+there+and+throw+pitches%2C%22+Bruce+said.

Malin Ensgård

City College’s Justin Bruce (No. 11) throws a pitch during the game against Allan Hancock College Saturday, March 14, 2015 at Pershing Park, Santa Barbara. “Big conference win. I just had to go out there and throw pitches,” Bruce said.

JONNY WALKER, Sports Editor

City College (14-5,7-4) pitcher Justin Bruce (No.11) had another impressive performance, pitching a complete game shutout to power the Vaqueros to a 2-0 victory over Allan Hancock (6-14, 3-8) Saturday at Pershing Park.

Bruce didn’t walk a single batter and struck out five in his first complete game shutout of the season. Bruce has pitched 18 straight innings without allowing a run, a streak that dates back to a 3-0 loss to Cuesta on Feb. 26.

“It’s not too hard to pitch with the lead,” Bruce said. “They were free-swingers so they put the ball into play almost every at-bat. These guys were getting themselves out quick.”

“He pounded the strike zone and has a great defense behind him,” said head coach Jeff Walker. “We hang our hat on our defense, pitching and base-running.”

Bruce has allowed just two runs in 37 innings pitched this year. He improved his season ERA to 1.06, good for third in the Western State Conference.

City College managed just five hits in the game, but also had four batters walked. The Vaqueros scored on sophomore catcher Jimmy Hill’s (no.15) RBI double down the left field line in the first inning, then again when Matt Henderson (No.6) laid down a sacrifice bunt to score teammate Spencer Erdman in the bottom of the fifth.

“Runs are going to come at a premium any time you face a tough pitcher like they have,” said Walker. “It’d be nice to score 12 runs every time, but that’s not baseball.”

Hill finished the game 2-4 with an RBI. He currently leads the team in RBIs (13) as well as batting average (.361).

City College has been stellar at home this season, improving their record to 10-1 at Pershing Park. The team has not fared as well on the road, winning just half of its eight away games.

“Your goal on the road, at any level, is to play .500 which is where we’re at,” Walker said.

“Playing at home, I think they just feel comfortable. We’ve been very fortunate to have good fan support and that helps as well.”

Saturday’s win elevated the Vaqueros from third place to second in the WSC North. The team trails conference leader Oxnard, who eliminated City College from state championship contention last season, by just one game.

City College will play its next game at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 17 at Allan Hancock.