The Moorpark College baseball team is strong-arming itself back into contention in the Western State Conference race.
After sweeping defending champion Oxnard this week, 7-3 and 3-1, Moorpark (8-9) has won three of four games in WSC North play and sits in second place ahead of a two-game series with first-place Cuesta Thursday and Saturday.
"We're doing a lot of things right," said Moorpark coach Mario Porto. "You prepare every year to do the right things and we're doing some right things. It's good to see."
The Raiders have already won more games in WSC North place this year than it did a year ago, when it was 2-18.
"The kids learned from last year and the new guys have bought into what we're doing," said Porto. "For a few games, it's meshed and things look good."
The obvious strength is in the pitching rotation. The trio of Landon Hunt, Tyler Karp and Michael Coates have given the Raiders a chance to win every time out.
"I feel comfortable with all our starters," said Porto. "Our pitching is our No. 1 asset right now."
During its recent upswing, which includes five wins in eight games, Moorpark has put together a 1.86 staff ERA.
Hunt, a Moorpark High product and Long Beach State signee, is 2-1 with a 1.74 ERA as a sophomore, striking out 15 in 20 2/3 innings.
The Raiders also received a recent boost at the back end of the staff, where Danny Hawes and Kevin Brown have recovered from injury to give them a setup man and a closer.
"Both those guys will be big assets for us," said Porto.
Brown made his first appearance of the season Thursday, striking out the last two batters with the tying runs on base to earn the save at Oxnard.