Ryan McDaniel and Carl Jameson stymied Taft College hitters, and Merced took advantage of Cougar errors to score three unearned runs that gave the Blue Devils a 3-0 Central Valley Conference baseball victory Tuesday.
The Cougars pitched well, too, but couldn’t get key hits with runners on base.
“We had chances, but couldn’t take advantage of them,” said head coach Vince Maiocco, whose team dipped to 6-10 in the conference and 9-18-1 overall heading into Saturday’s home rematch with the Blue Devils. First pitch is at 1 p.m.
“Brandon (Van Stone) again threw a strong game for us,” Maiocco said.
The freshman from Henderson, Nev. scattered eight hits over his seven innings of work, striking out one and walking one before giving way to Matt Gunderson, who shut out the Blue Devils over the final two.
Merced scored all of its runs in the sixth inning on two hits, a sacrifice bunt and two errors.
The Cougars twice advanced runners to third and twice to second but couldn’t get anyone home.
Mike Vaquera doubled and Luis Trinidad and Shane Sudsbury singled to account for Taft’s offense.
McDaniel pitched eight innings, allowing three hits while striking out three and walking three.
The game was a quick one. It ran just two hours and 15 minutes.
Saturday’s Merced game wraps up the round of three-game series the seven conference teams play. They will then play each other once to conclude the season.
The Cougars will host two games next week – West Hills on Tuesday and Porterville on Thursday. Both games start at 2 p.m.