Garret Jensen turned in a strong performance on the mound and Tyler Smith had a perfect day at the plate Tuesday to pace Taft College to a 6-0 victory over visiting Reedley College in the Central Valley Conference baseball opener for both schools.

Garret Jensen turned in a strong performance on the mound and Tyler Smith had a perfect day at the plate Tuesday to pace Taft College to a 6-0 victory over visiting Reedley College in the Central Valley Conference baseball opener for both schools.


Jensen, a freshman right-hander out of Bakersfield’s West High, handcuffed the Tigers on two hits in his seven innings of work to improve his overall record to 2-1.


Smith, a lanky sophomore outfielder from Henderson, Nev., rocked a two-run homer over the left field fence in the first inning to give Jensen all the help he needed and added three more hits and another RBI before the day was done.


The Cougars (9-7-1 overall and 1-0 in the CVC) traveled to Reedley Thursday and host the Tigers again aturday at 1 p.m. to complete the three-game conference opening series.


“It was a good way to start conference play,” said Cougar head coach Vince Maiocco.


“We got complacent after the first inning and kept them in the game until the seventh.”


Second-baseman Jeremy Burleson poked a one-out single for Taft’s first hit to set the stage for Smith dinger.


 “That was a laser,” Maiocco said of the homer.


Catcher Darby Ventura doubled and Wilfredo Rodriguez singled to give the Cougars four consecutive hits, but a double play blunted any further damage.
After that rocky beginning, Reedley starter Dan Torres shut the Cougars down for the next five innings, scattering four singles.


The wheels came off in the seventh when the Cougars combined three hits – including a leadoff double by shortstop Michael Hayes – with three Tiger errors for four runs.
Maiocco was delighted he got seven strong innings out of Jensen, typically a middle reliever who got his first start of the season.


He got the start because Kevin Chapman was ill.


“We had hoped he could go three or four innings,” he said, “but to get seven was a real plus.”
Jensen struck out four and did not give up a walk.


Derek Sinke, who had not thrown in a while, blanked Reedley in the eighth and sidewinder Zach Biehl pitched the ninth.


Maiocco also was pleased with the work of Hayes, who moved over from being a backup second baseman to take over at shortstop.


“He played solid defense and also got three hits.”


Gentry Mitchell had a double and single for the Cougars, who had 13 hits in the game, with Dominic McGovern, Darby Ventura, and Wilfredo Rodriguez all picking up singles.