Taft College wins Thursday while losing Saturday
Taft and West Hills colleges took turns beating each other with big innings in the final two games of their Central Valley Conference series.
The Cougars scored nine runs in the ninth inning of last Thursday’s game in Coalinga for an 18-11 victory, but the Falcons turned the tables Saturday by scoring six times in the 11th inning for an 8-2 win on TC’s home field.
The loss was especially hard to take for the Cougars because all eight West Hills runs were unearned.
TC will play Los Angeles Harbor (7-15) today and Saturday in Wilmington in a pair of spring break week non-conference games.
The Cougars are 6-9 in the conference and 10-14-1 overall.
Cougars 18, West Hills 11
In TC’s wildest game of the season, the Cougars led 9-8 after four innings. It was quiet, however, over the next four with the Falcons taking the lead with single runs in the sixth and seventh.
The Cougars blew it open in the top of the ninth.
They sent 13 batters to the plate. Six of them got hits and four walks.
Pierce Beluastegui and Matt Packer each had two-run doubles during the rally.
Sophomore right fielder Chase Skinner went 4-for-5 on the day with a double and triple and drove in four runs. Belaustegui and Sean Arbaut each had two hits and three RBIs.
Cleanup hitter Forrest Smith had a triple and single for an RBI, and Luis Trinidad also had a pair of hits.
Taft had four sacrifices, one each from Skinner, Trinidad, Jay Huggins and Taylor Meditz.
Six pitchers got in on the action for TC with P.J. Matha getting the win for his two and a third innings of work.
The run total could have been higher. The teams left 24 runners on base. The pitchers walked 17 batters and hit three.
The game lasted almost four hours.
West Hills 8, Cougars 2
Falcon right-hander Nick Palacios kept the Cougars off balance all afternoon, toiling for 10 innings. He gave up two earned runs on seven hits, struck out six and walked two.
Despite that performance, the Cougars thought they should have won the game 2-0 in regulation.
That’s because the Falcons scored twice in the fifth inning on a two-out error by second baseman Packer, who booted a routine grounder with the bases loaded.
TC scored single runs in the third and seventh but was unable to manufacture anything more.
Huggins had three of TC’s eight hits. Skinner doubled and scored the first Cougar run on a single by Trinidad.
Sean Arbaut singled to open the seventh, moved up on a sacrifice bunt by Jose Torres and scored on a pinch-hit line drive single to right field by Scott Koenen.
Cole Bryant worked the first seven innings, giving up two unearned runs on eight hits, striking out four and walking four. Corey Gilligan kept the Falcons scoreless until the 11th when West Hills combined five hits, two errors and two walks into six more unearned runs.