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Bruce tosses seven-hit shutout in 2-0 win over Hancock

Justin Bruce (4-1) threw his first complete game and lowered his ERA to 1.06. He's given up just two runs in his last 37 innings. (Photo by Dave Loveton)
Justin Bruce (4-1) threw his first complete game and lowered his ERA to 1.06. He's given up just two runs in his last 37 innings. (Photo by Dave Loveton)

Justin Bruce tossed his first complete game of the year on Saturday, shutting down Hancock 2-0 on just seven hits. He struck out five and didn't walk a batter on an 80-degree day at Pershing Park.

Bruce, a sophomore right-hander from San Jose, improved to 4-1 and lowered his miniscule ERA to 1.06, the No. 3 mark in the WSC North. It was the fifth shutout of the year for the SBCC pitching staff, which boasts the No. 1 ERA in California at 1.89.

"We hit the ball and got some run support," said Bruce. "It's not hard to pitch with the lead."

Bruce has allowed just two runs in his last five starts, a span of 37 innings.

The Vaqueros, ranked No. 7 in Southern Cal, improved to 10-1 at home, 14-5 overall and 7-4 in the conference. No. 5 Oxnard leads the pack at 8-3 with SBCC, L.A. Pierce and Cuesta one game back in second. Hancock fell to 6-14 and 3-8.

Catcher James Hill went 2-4 and gave the Vaqueros the early lead with an RBI double that scored Matt Henderson with two outs in the first. Henderson brought home the other run in the fifth with a sacrifice bunt that brought home Spencer Erdman, who had doubled and stole third.

Hill took over the team lead in batting average (.361) and RBIs (13). He's fourth in the WSC North in batting and third in RBIs.

"Playing at home feels comfortable," said Walker. "We have been fortunate to have some fan support and good crowds and I know that helps as well.

"Bruce works very efficiently. He throws a lot of strikes."

The Vaqueros travel to Santa Maria to take on Hancock on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. in the last game of the first round of conference.