Buster Hardman went 2 for 3 with a home run and 3 RBI to lead Taft College at the plate in a 10-4 Central Valley Conference loss to visiting Fresno City College in the deciding game of a three-game set on Saturday.
The loss dropped the Cougars to 8-10 overall and 1-2 in conference play while Fresno moved to 13-6 and 2-1.
Despite the Rams taking the series 2-1, it was a closely matched battle as FCC narrowly outscored Taft by a one-run margin, 24-23.
Fresno put the game out of reach early, touching Taft starting pitcher Cassius Shy for a run in the top of the first inning and four more in the second.
Down 6-0, Taft finally got on the board in the bottom of the fifth after a fielder's choice grounder by Leo Fontanez allowed J Cruz to score.
Earlier in the contest, Fontanez turned in the defensive play of the season. In the third, he raced back to the fence in right field to leap and rob FCC's Chet Allison of a potential three-run home run.
Hardman's three-run shot in the bottom of the seventh wasn't caught, bringing Taft to within three runs, trailing 7-4.
The Rams went on to score two runs in the eighth and one more in the ninth to close out their series win.
Shy took the loss after allowing five runs and four hits over 1 2/3 innings.
Taft will look to snap its two-game losing streak when the Cougars begin another three-game Central Valley Conference series on Tuesday (Mar. 12) at Cerro Coso College. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.