Cougars knock off Fresno City in Central Valley Conference opener

Jake Pearson (Photo by Augustin Duenas)
Jake Pearson (Photo by Augustin Duenas)

Jake Pearson drove in four runs while Cedric Corrales tossed seven strong innings to help lead Taft College to an 11-2 win over visiting Fresno City College on Thursday in both teams' Central Valley Conference opener.

The three-game conference series continues on Friday (Mar. 8) at FCC with the finale set for Saturday (Mar. 9) back at Taft.

After a quick first inning, the Cougars got the Fresno starter Kohl Simas for a pair of runs in the second. Walks by James McCallum and Greyson Barrett as well as a single by Andres Rolon loaded up the bases for Tyler Gardner. And he delivered with a clutch two-out double to drive in Rolon and McCallum to put Taft out in front early.

Fresno (11-6, 0-1 CVC) came back to tie up the score with two runs in the top of the fourth. But Taft went ahead for good with three runs in the fifth and three more in the sixth. Wes Herbert's two-run triple in the fifth and Pearson's three-run home run in the sixth proved to be the big blows of the game.

The Cougars closed out the scoring with another three-run rally in the eighth. A Fresno error allowed two runs to come in before Pearson smacked a RBI double to score Javier Ramirez with the game's final run.

Pearson closed his day going 2 for 4 with 4 RBI, a walk, and two runs. Herbert and Gardner also drove in two runs each.

While the Cougars were busy scoring runs, Corrales was busy carving up the Rams' lineup. He allowed just three hits over seven innings while an error in the fourth allowed the two unearned runs to score. He struck out six and walked three. Leo Fontanez closed out the win with two scoreless innings.

The victory evened up Taft's overall record at 8-8 and moved the Cougars to 1-0 in the CVC.