Power surge lifts Taft to doubleheader split with Ohlone

(Photo by Taft Midway Driller)
(Photo by Taft Midway Driller)

Keegan Vialpando smashed a three-run home run, one of three hit by Taft College, to help lead the Cougars to an 11-1 win over visiting Ohlone College in the second game of a non-conference doubleheader on Friday. Taft earned a split after dropping the opener earlier in the day by a final score of 6-0.

Getting his first start behind the plate, Vialpando was impressive with the bat. He went 3 for 4 with 4 RBI. His three-run shot in the bottom of the third extended Taft's lead to 6-1.

Kalani Klepfer also drove in four runs. He smacked a three-run home run in the second to give Taft a 3-1 advantage, part of a 2 for 4 day at the plate. And Andres Rolon got in on the party with a solo home run in the fourth. He led Taft with four hits, going 4 for 5.

On the mound, Michael Barker was electric in his first start of the season. He struck out nine over five innings. But a pair of walks in the top of the first led to Ohlone's lone run. He closed his outing allowing just the one run and no hits.

The Taft bullpen was nearly perfect over the final four innings. Leo Fontanez struck out three and walked one over two innings, Ryan Brown gave up a hit over his one frame, and Luis DeLeon picked up a strikeout in a shutdown ninth inning.

Game 1 of the doubleheader was a complete opposite. The Cougars managed just four hits off three different Ohlone pitchers in the shutout loss.

Rolon had two of those hits, getting singles in the fifth and seventh innings.

The Cougars had limited scoring chances but couldn't come through. They left runners on second and third in the bottom of the first inning and stranded a pair of runners in the eighth and ninth.

Cassius Shy pitched well in the start for Taft. He scattered four hits over four shutout innings and struck out five. But Ohlone blew the game open with a five-run, sixth-inning. Grayson Barrett took the loss, allowing three runs and two hits over 1 1/3 innings.

Taft, now 1-3 overall, returns to action on Tuesday (Feb. 5) at 1 p.m. when the Cougars travel to San Joaquin Delta College to begin a two-game non-conference set. The series shifts to Taft on Thursday (Feb. 7), with first pitch also scheduled for 1 p.m.