Seven different Taft College pitchers held Antelope Valley College hitters at bay while the Cougars' offense manufactured three runs off five hits for a narrow 3-1 victory over the visiting Marauders on Saturday.
Taft closed out its non-conference schedule with a 7-8 overall record and will enter Central Valley Conference play having won four of its last five ball games.
The Cougars took full advantage of their limited scoring chances to pull out the win. Taft struck early thanks to a leadoff double by Buster Hardman in the bottom of the first inning. He promptly stole third base and came in to score the game's first run on a sacrifice fly by Jake Pearson.
It was a bullpen game for the Cougar pitching staff as starter Luis DeLeon tossed a pair of scoreless innings to open the contest. After a scoreless third inning, Cedric Corrales allowed a RBI double to AVC's Joe Lamont that tied up the game.
But the remaining five Cougar pitchers held the Marauders scoreless for the rest of the game. Blake Tiede, Juan Rodriguez, and Ryan Brown threw one inning each before Brady Wilson went 1 1/3 with Leo Fontanez getting the final two outs for the save.
Rodriguez was credited with the win thanks to a two-run, sixth-inning rally that put Taft ahead for good. Javier Ramirez got it going with a leadoff single and moved to second on a wild pitch. Two batters later, Fontanez laid down a bunt single that moved Ramirez to third. James McCallum followed with a sacrifice bunt to bring in Ramirez. Wes Herbert added an insurance run with a RBI double to put the game out of reach.
Herbert went 2 for 3 with a RBI to lead the Taft offense.
The Cougars will look to keep the momentum going when they open a three-game conference series at home against Fresno City College on Tuesday (Mar. 5) at 2 p.m.