Cougars can’t close out Merced, suffer stunning 8-7 loss in 14 innings

Andres Rolon (Photo by Taft Midway Driller)
Andres Rolon (Photo by Taft Midway Driller)

Taft College was an out away from earning their 10th straight Central Valley Conference victory. Instead, a two-out error followed by a game-tying single sent the Cougars' game at Merced College into extra innings where the Blue Devils eventually prevailed in 14 innings by a final score of 8-7.

Taft went into the bottom of the ninth leading Merced 7-4. A one-out walk, followed by a single and hit batter loaded the bases for the Blue Devils. Relief pitcher Greyson Barrett got Sam Burns to pop out for the second out but a failed pickoff throw to first by Barrett allowed two runs to score. Dylon Jackson came up in the clutch for Merced, delivering a single to drive in Tyler Butterfield to tie up the game.

Ryan Brown came on to pitch in the 10th for the Cougars after inheriting a Merced runner on second base with one out. He was able to get a pair of pop outs to end the threat and keep the game all tied. Brown went on to toss three more huge innings of scoreless relief to keep the Cougars in the ball game.

But in the 14th, Merced greeted reliever Ryan Meng with a leadoff single, a sacrifice bunt, and got a two-out, walk-off single from Daiyu Katsu to finally end the contest.

Taft (17-11) had its nine-game winning streak snapped and fell to 10-3 in the CVC standings.

Andres Rolon (pictured) had a good game at the plate, going 3-for-5 with 3 RBI. He smacked a two-run home run in the first to get the Cougars on the board and added a RBI single in the sixth, part of a four-run Taft rally.

Cedric Corrales allowed three runs and four hits over 4 1/3 innings in the start for the Cougars.

Taft and Merced continue their three-game CVC series on Thursday (Apr. 4) with a 2 p.m. contest back in Taft. The series concludes on Saturday (Apr. 6) at 2 p.m. back in Merced.