Cougars score 47 runs on 51 hits in wins over Lassen College and Monterey Peninsula College

Taft College put up some gaudy numbers over the weekend with a three-game sweep that gave the Cougars seven wins in a row heading into Central Valley Conference play this week.

The Cougars scored 47 runs on 51 hits in defeating Lassen College twice (20-4 and 14-4) and Monterey Peninsula College, 13-8.

The hit parade included eight homeruns, two triples and 11 doubles.

And, the Cougars swiped 23 out of 25 bases.

TC is 7-2 heading into a three-game series with Fresno City College.

The first game is today in Fresno, the second Thursday in Taft at 2 p.m. and the third Saturday in Fresno.

Head coach Vince Maiocco wasn’t all that impressed with the romps Friday and Saturday over hapless Lassen, but he was pleased with Sunday’s victory over Monterey.

“That was a good win for us against a quality ball club,” he said.  “Monterey is a favorite to win their conference.”

Unlike Lassen, which also lost games to Monterey by 12-5 and 15-0 scores and headed back to Susanville with an overall 0-6 record, the Lobos gave the Cougars a tussle.

It didn’t start out that way.

The Cougars scored twice in the first and second and added three in the fourth to take a 7-1 lead into the sixth.

That’s when the Lobos scored six runs on four hits, two walks and an error to tie the score.

“We didn’t panic,” Maiocco said.  “Our attitude was, hey, the game is still tied and we know we’ll score more runs.”

They did.

Travis Derby led off the home half of the inning with a single to left, moved up on a sacrifice bunt by Anthony Rodriguez and a groundout and scored on Darby Ventura’s line drive single to center.

In the seventh, a bloop single, a walk and a fielder’s choice loaded the bases to set the table for Derby’s grand slam homer that gave the Cougars some breathing room.

Center fielder Dominic McGovern, who made a nice leaping catch in the Monterey game, was among Cougars who had a big series.

The sophomore went 6-for-11, drove in five runs and stole four bases.

Rodriguez was 6-for-10 with five stolen bases, four of them against Hartnell .

Josh Dickey was 5-for-10 with four RBIs and five stolen bases, Darby Ventura 5-for-12 with two homers and seven RBIs, and Michael Hayes 4-for-11 with two homers and a triple to drive in six runs.

Austin Christiansen, who made two relief appearances, was 3-for-4 with a homer and stolen base, and Devan Pearson homered, doubled and singled.

Juan Beltran got his second win of the season with his five innings of work in the first game of the series.  Shawn Davisson, David Carmona, Patrick Fratto and Jose Colon all got in an inning of work.  They combined to strike out 11 and did not give up an earned run.

Garret Jensen pushed his record to 3-0 with six shutout innings of work in the second win over Lassen.  He gave up four hits, struck out two and walked one.  Jordan Howard, Carmona and Christiansen all worked an inning.

Braden Keathley worked into the sixth inning against Monterey, giving up five runs on eight hits, striking out four and walking one.

Jesus Del Rosario gave up two more runs without getting an out before Devin Thomas came on to restore order. Christiansen worked the last two innings.

The Cougars head into conference warfare with a 7-2 record.  Fresno is 4-2 and has dominated the conference, winning the title six of the last nine seasons.

Last weekend’s success has polished the offensive numbers.

The team is hitting .348 with a .535 slugging average and 12 homeruns in nine games.
The Cougars have stolen 41 of 47 bases.

Among the regulars Dickey is hitting .467, Rodriguez .432, McGovern .375, and Ventura .343.
Relief pitcher Christiansen is 7-for-13 for a .538 average.

Rodriguez leads the team with 16 hits and Ventura set the pace in RBIs with 17.
Ventura and Hayes have three homers.

The team has a 2.85 earned run average with Jensen’s 2.65 the best among starters.