by Kaivon Kealoha
The Cougars fought hard, yet fell to Merced College in game 3 of the series, on Saturday afternoon. Taft took an early 2-0 lead in the second inning when Shane Kotz tripled to drive in Robert Higgs then scored on a 2 out double by Kaivon Kealoha.
Merced was quick to answer back putting up a 3 spot in the third inning on a triple, and 2 Cougar errors.
Kotz doubled to drive in Richard Ortiz with one out in the fourth inning and Ortiz singled to drive in 2 during the fifth to retain the Cougar lead.
Merced answered back in the 5th on a 2 RBI single by Darren Trainor.
This led to the eighth inning, when Merced scored the final runs of the game to seal the win on 2 walks from Cougar relief pitcher Brett Haney and a 2 run single by David Vidauri.
Robby Brewster pitched 7.1 innings, and gave up 5 runs on 7 hits while striking out 4, and Haney took the loss by walking the 2 batters he faced in the eighth. Alfred Souza came in after Haney to record the final out of the inning.
Taft College will seek conference redemption when they host West Hills College of Coalinga on Tuesday, March 1, in the 3 game series opener.