Javier Ramirez' two-out heroics lifts Cougars to 6-5 win over Cerro Coso

Freshman shortstop Javier Ramirez clobbered a two-out, two-run homerun in the bottom of the eighth Tuesday to give Taft College a 6-5 Central Valley Conference baseball win over visiting Merced College.
The victory, combined with Cerro Coso’s 6-2 loss to Sequoias, moved the Cougars into sole possession of fifth place in one of the top conferences in the state.  Taft and Merced will close out their three-game series Saturday at Cougar Field.  First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Trailing 5-4 the Cougars got off to a promising start in the home half of the eighth when designated hitter Zach Jones led off with a single but was erased when Tyler Gardner hit into a 1-6-3 double play.  Hebert kept things alive with a single and Ramirez hit the game-winner off Merced reliever Ruben Sanchez.  
It was TC’s 33rd homer of the season.  First baseman Jade Smoot belted the 32nd in the fifth, a two-run shot that tied the game at 3.
After Merced (7-4 CVC, 17-13 overall) scored twice in the top of the sixth to take a 5-3 lead the Cougars (6-7, 16-16) got one back in the home half when Tyler Gardner doubled, moved up on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch.  
Tait Ludwick (2-3) earned the win in relief, holding the Blue Devils scoreless in two and a third.  Micah McCulley got his first save of the season by setting Merced down 1-2-3 in the ninth.
Alec Olsen went 2-for-3 for the Cougars with a run scored.
SOFTBALL
REEDLEY -- Pitcher Emily Grimbleby limited Taft College to one earned run on four hits here Tuesday as the Tigers mercy ruled the Cougars twice in a Central Valley Conference doubleheader.  The scores were 9-0 and 11-3.
Grimbleby, who ran her record to 15-7, struck out 16 batters and allowed just two walks in 10 innings of work.
In the first game, freshman Jazmine Miles got both Cougar hits – a double and a single.  The Tigers put the game out of reach early by scoring seven runs in the first two innings.
In the second game Allie Dobbs and Kennedy Quick singled off Grimbleby.
Reedley hitters backed up their pitcher with 22 hits, including a homer and five singles.  Aunika Casstellanos went 2-for-2 in the first game (a homer and a double) to drive in five runs.
The Cougars (3-11 CVC, 11-21 overall) host Cerro Coso Saturday at 11 a.m. in a make-up of a conference rainout.