Jake Pearson (pictured) and Javier Ramirez both smacked home runs and drove in three runs each to help lead Taft College to a much-needed 14-9 non-conference win over visiting Moorpark College on Friday.
Taft snapped its two-game losing streak thanks to a 17-hit onslaught while its 14 runs were also a new season high.
While the Cougars' bats exploded, their pitching is still a question mark early in the season. Moorpark got to Taft starting pitcher Michael Barker early, scoring a run in the first, three in the second, and two in the third to take a 6-1 lead.
Taft got two runs back thanks to a Moorpark error in the fourth. A dropped third strike allowed Buster Hardman and James McCallum to come in to score.
The Raiders put up a run in the fifth to extend their lead to 7-2. But Taft responded with the big inning it needed, rallying for six runs in the bottom of the fifth.
McCallum laced a RBI double before Ramirez launched a three-run home run. The inning didn't stop there as Tyler Gardner drove in a run with a single and came in to score two batters later on a wild pitch to give the Cougars the lead for good at 9-7.
Leading 10-9, Taft sealed the victory with four runs in the eighth. The big blow was a two-run home run by Pearson. Hardman and Wes Herbert also hit RBI singles to close the scoring.
Luis DeLeon earned the win in relief for Taft. He struck out five and allowed just one hit over 2 1/3 innings. Juan Rodriguez picked up the save, tossing the final 1 1/3 innings with a strikeout and walk.
Hardman went 3 for 4 with a walk, one run, and a RBI to lead Taft at the plate. Herbert (2 for 6, 2 RBI) Zach Jones (2 for 5), McCallum (2 for 4, 3 runs, 1 RBI), and Jake Smoot (2 for 3) all had two hits each.
Pearson closed his big day at the plate going 2 for 5 with 3 RBI and 2 runs.
The win improved Taft to 2-5 overall. The Cougars return to action on Thursday (Feb. 14) when they host Antelope Valley College in a 1 p.m. non-conference game.