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This year the Cougars won six of their 10 pre-conference games—a resounding comeback from last year’s two pre-conference victories. Each team that Cuesta faced was ranked in the top 20 in the state.
At the start of the season, the Cougars were ranked 13th before fighting their way up to ninth in the Southern California Region.
The victories continued as they entered into their conference games; winning their first three games, suffered a four game losing streak, and came back winning eight of nine games.
“It’s been a good start for us,” said Bob Miller, who has been coaching the cougars for 14 seasons. Miller has also entered the top 20 for all time community college wins in the state at 347.
The team was able to build off of last years players and season. They had several returning players with the addition of several freshmen and sophomores to the team.
“The experience certainly has helped and then you’re talking about older, more mature athletes,” Miller said. “I like the experience that the club brought to the table.”
Having so many returning players has helped Cuesta jump off to a good start.
“Our pitching has really been the backbone of our team and I like the way we’ve competed day in and day out in the first 10.”
Cuesta’s two current pitchers are Brendan Jenkins and Louis Raymond; both right-handed pitchers. Pitching has been Cuesta’s biggest strength, having the lowest team ERA at 2.37 in the Western State Conference.
Brendan Jenkins, a sophomore from Amador Valley High School in Pleasanton, Calif., has been the biggest standout. Jenkins started the season with a scoreless innings streak of 19, earning him his second win of the season. He was awarded February’s SoCal’s Players of the Week by Community College Coaches.
“You kind of just turn the page and keep working,” Jenkins said. “Keep your eye on the prize and just get down to business. One pitch at a time; one game at a time.”
Jenkins, set a Cuesta record with 37 consecutive scoreless innings last spring and hurled a 3-hit shutout of 2015 CCCAA State Champion Orange Coast; all while maintaining a 3.34 GPA working toward his degree in mathematics
Jenkins signed with the University of San Francisco during their early signing period.
He will be joining fellow Cuesta’s alumni pitcher James Kannenberg who signed with USF last year.
“It just felt like the right fit,” Jenkins said. “I’ve always been a big education guy growing up and they have a good education program and baseball team. It’s everything I want in a college.”
Jenkins was a 2015 first-team All-Western State Conference selection as a freshman and went 7-3 on the mound posting a program-record 37 consecutive scoreless inning streak en route to a 1.80 ERA that ranked third in Cuesta history. Jenkins also struck out 50 batters while limiting hitters to a .213 batting average against over his 85 innings.