Taft College begins series Tuesday

Taft College’s baseball team hopes to crack the win column in the Central Valley Conference today when College of the Sequoias comes to town to open a three-game series.

Action on the campus diamond begins at 2 p.m.

The Cougars will travel to Visalia Thursday for the second game and finish the series here Saturday at 1 p.m.

TC hopes to break out of a funk that began when they lost a three-game series at Monterey Peninsula College to close out the pre-conference season.

They christened conference play last week by dropping a three-game set to Merced to run the losing streak to six games after starting the season 4-2.

The Cougars have lost five one-run games in their last eight outings, including three games in which they took a lead into the ninth inning.

They’re getting good pitching but have trouble getting clutch hits and hanging on once starting pitchers leave the game.

For example, Kevin Little has a 1.78 earned run average in 25.1 innings as a starting pitcher but is 0-1 in the won-loss column.

Brandon Van Stone has a 2.02 ERA in 26.2 innings but is 1-2.

Nick Risucci has a 1.84 ERA in 14.2 innings of relief and is 2-1.

Two other relievers – Bryan Sanchez and Buddy Cooper – have not given up an earned run.

As a team the Cougars have a 2.70 ERA. 

That’s second only to Fresno’s 2.27 among conference teams.

Canadian Roman Testani has been the team’s most consistent hitter with a .348 average.

Leadoff hitter Travis Tessandori, a sophomore from Tehachapi, is hitting .312.

He and Testani had two hits in each of the last two games.

The Cougars also are playing solid defense.

TC has the unenviable task of playing the three teams that perennially dominate the CVC in baseball.

After opening with Merced, the Cougars play Sequoias this week and then defending champion Fresno.