Local sports briefs: Fresno City baseball team wins ninth straight

Scott Silva and Christian Funk hit three-run home runs and Fresno City College also turned a triple play as the Rams extended their winning streak to nine by beating visiting Taft 9-6 in a Central Valley Conference game Thursday at John Euless Ballpark.

The Rams (21-3, 16-1), ranked No. 2 in NorCal, No. 5 in the Pacific West region that also includes Oregon and Washington and No. 14 in the nation according to, made it two straight in the three-game series ahead of Saturday’s 1 p.m. finale in Taft.

Fresno City led 9-3 before Taft picked up three in the seventh. The triple play came in the fifth, when a single, error and walk put runners at first and second. Silva took a groundball at second and threw to shortstop Zak Taylor for one out. Taylor fired to first to get the batter, and first baseman R.J. Hartmann threw to catcher Tucker Salles for the third out.

Drayton Riekenberg (3-1) walked seven and gave up seven hits but allowed just three runs in six innings for the victory.

The Cougars (14-9, 7-7) were led by Keith Tatum, who homered and drove in three while going 3 for 3.

Sunbirds get four in eighth, edge Cal Baptist

Fresno Pacific strung together four runs in the top of the eighth and tacked on another in the ninth to win 7-5 at Cal Baptist in the opener of a PacWest Conference series between teams ranked among the best in the West in NCAA Division II.

The regionally fourth-ranked Sunbirds (19-8, 7-6) trailed 3-2 before back-to-back singles and steals by Michael Tittle and Preston Scott help set up the four-run eighth.

Nick Pate tied it with a single before Fresno Pacific got some help from Lancers reliever Patrick Gonzales, who loaded the bases on a walk to John Koretoff and then hit Travis Beck with a pitch to force in the go-ahead run. Michael Hostetler added a two-run single.

Wilson Ashford (5-1) pitched seven innings, allowing eight hits and three runs scored (two earned) and finished with five strikeouts.

Tenth-ranked Cal Baptist (14-13, 6-3) hosts game 2 of the series at 6 p.m. today.

Also …

College basketball: