Taft College got its baseball season off to a good start by winning two of three games against two non-conference opponents.
On Friday, the Cougars split a doubleheader with No. 4 Feather River College and came back Saturday to edge Los Angeles Harbor in a game shortened by darkness after TC squeezed home what proved to be the winning run.
Cougar right-hander Allen Sanchez out-dueled Feather River’s Michael Bennett in the season opener Friday morning to give TC a 1-0 victory.
However, the Golden Eagles surged back behind a sterling effort from Jace Puckett to win the second game 9-1.
The only run in the opener came in the bottom of the seventh when freshman second baseman Shane Sudsbury drove in Josh Roelofs, who opened the inning with a single.
The Cougars managed five hits off Bennett, including doubles by shortstop Luis Trinidad and catcher Josh Hickle and a single by Clint Jorgensen.
Sanchez, who missed last season with a broken ankle, scattered six hits, struck out four and walked one.
Feather River, located in Quincy and a perennial northern California powerhouse, banged 15 hits off six Taft pitchers to win the second game.
TC managed just two hits – singles from Travis Tessandori and Trinidad, who drove in the Cougars’ lone run with his hit in the third.
The game was close until the Golden Eagles scored five runs in the sixth on five hits, including three doubles, a walk, hit batter and dropped third strike.
TC 4, Harbor 3
Freshman right-hander Brandon Van Stone threw six and a third solid innings, allowing three runs on four hits with four strikeouts and one walk as the Cougars improved to 2-1.
Tessandori’s third hit of the game was the game-winner, driving in Tyler Meditz with a safety squeeze in the bottom of the eighth.
The game was then called by mutual agreement because of darkness.
Michael Vaquera, a transfer from Allen Hancock College who played at East High in Bakersfield, got the win in relief. He also got the save in Friday’s win over Feather River with two shutout innings.
The Cougars are in Los Angeles today for a return match with Harbor.
They will close out the week with a three-game home series, playing College of the Siskiyous Thursday and Friday and Barstow on Saturday. Starting times for those games are 1 p.m., 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.