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College baseball: Cougar barrage

College of the Canyons explodes for 20 hits in win

Posted: March 4, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 4, 2011 1:55 a.m.

College of the Canyons second baseman Kasey Toven looks to bunt on Thursday at College of the Canyons.

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In its final game before the opening of Western State Conference, South Division play, College of the Canyons baseball had one issue in mind.

More consistency from the bats.

In a 20-hit barrage at the plate and a 14-5 win over Allan Hancock College on Thursday at COC, the Cougars answered the call in a big way.

It was COC’s highest run total of the season, a good sign with the first conference game coming Saturday at West L.A. College.

“We’re going strong into conference. We’re hitting well,” said COC right fielder Kamran Young. “The bats weren’t too strong, but we’re getting a lot better now.”

And the improvement is coming from all parts of the lineup, including Young, who went 3-for-5 with an RBI, a run scored and two stolen bases on Thursday from the No. 9 spot in the lineup.

The top of the order did plenty too, as two-hole hitter Kasey Toven had a 3-for-5 day with five RBIs and three runs scored.

“We’re taking better at-bats,” said COC head coach Chris Cota. “The pitching has been solid all year, but offensively, we’re turning the corner on doing the small things.”

Against Allan Hancock, it was aggressiveness early on.

The Cougars (8-5) jumped on Bulldogs starting pitcher Cody Berryman in the first inning, scoring four runs after an error, a walk and a catcher’s interference call loaded the bases with no outs.

Two batters and a ground-out RBI later, Jake Jelmini’s three-run home run put COC up 4-0.

Toven added another run with an RBI single in the second inning and the Bulldogs (7-6) found themselves behind 5-0.

“We were just staying inside the ball and driving it,” Young said of the approach against the hard-throwing Allan Hancock pitcher.

On the mound for the Cougars was right-hander Troy Neiman, who shut down the Bulldogs, with the exception of a four-run fourth inning.

He improved to 3-2 this season with the win and gave up the four runs off six hits in six innings while striking out nine.

“They were behind on all the fastballs, so I was throwing a lot of fastballs,” Neiman said. “They kind of started figuring me out in the fourth, and I had to go to some of my offspeed stuff.”

It was J.P. Maestas who figured him out the most in the form of a two-run bomb to right field in the fourth.

After that, Neiman went back to changing speeds and working in change-ups to get through two more uneventful innings.

Meanwhile, COC’s bats were piling it on with strings of base hits, and the Cougars took advantage of five Bulldog errors.

By the time Berryman was yanked in the fifth, he had allowed 11 hits and nine runs, seven of which were earned.

All nine hitters in COC’s starting lineup got at least one hit and five different players had three hits on the day.

“Not too many balls were going out, but we’re still swinging the bat well,” Young said. “We’re still hitting balls into gaps and doing what we need to do.”

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