Taft College baseball team loses by three runs

College of the Sequoias ace John Niggli kept the top of the Taft College batting order in check Tuesday and the Giants scored three times in the top of the eighth for a 5-2 Central Valley Conference win.

Niggli, who improved his record to 4-1, went the distance for the Giants and limited the top of the order to a 1-for-15 day.

The teams go at it again Saturday at 1 p.m. in the final clash of the three-game series.
It was a pitcher’s duel for the first four innings. 

Cougar starter Austin Christiansen allowed just one hit while TC managed three singles off Niggli.

COS broke the ice in the fifth with a leadoff double by Brandon Pizzo, who went 3-for-4, a single by Jacob Motsenbocker and a sacrifice fly.

The Giants made it 2-0 in the sixth on another sacrifice fly after Patrick Hutcheson doubled and stole third.

The Cougars rallied in the seventh.

Perry Rogan lined a single to center, stole second and scored when Tyler Blair bounced a single up the middle.

Dominic McGovern was safe when Sequoias shortstop Hutcheson couldn’t pick up his grounder.
Blair and McGovern advanced when Hutcheson mishandled the throw from right-fielder Motsenbocker on Rex Blaylock’s fly ball.

Braden Keathley rifled a pinch-hit single up the middle to score Blair with the tying run, but McGovern was thrown out at the plate in a hotly disputed call.

Sequoias put the game away in the eighth by combining three singles, three stolen bases, a walk, and a balk off Cougar relievers Devin Thomas and Jose Colon, who took the loss.
Christiansen allowed two runs on six hits in his six innings of work.  He struck out five and walked only one.

Rogan and Blair had to hits apiece to account for half of the Cougar hits off Niggli.