By Nick Giannandrea
The streak has come to an end.
But College of the Sequoias' baseball team's winning ways extend into the launch of conference play this week.
The Giants are set to host Merced at 2 p.m. Feb. 18 in a Central Valley Conference opener after winning 12 of their first 13 games, including two of three against Cosumnes River over the weekend.
The conference-opening series against the Blue Devils (5-5) continues at 2 p.m. Feb. 20 at Merced, and at 1 p.m. Feb. 22 at COS.
The Giants, who last won a CVC title in 2014, saw their season-opening 10-game winning streak snapped on Feb. 14 during a 19-10 non-conference loss to Cosumnes River.
COS pounded out a season-high 18 hits -- including four by Isaac Gonzalez (Redwood High), and three apiece by Flavio Perez Jr. (Hanford) and Elijah Munoz (Redwood) -- but were undone by a season-worst seven errors that led to six unearned runs.
The Giants bounced back with a 9-0 victory over the Hawks on Feb. 15 behind a combined five-hitter from Benjamin Pedersen (Tulare Union) and Chase Watson (El Diamante).
Pedersen (2-0) allowed all five hits over six innings, but didn't walk anyone while striking out six to earn the win.
Watson gave up only three walks over three innings, striking out one to earn his first save.
Maverick Souza (El Diamante) provided the only run COS would need with a two-run single in the bottom of the first.
Cade Sakamoto (Highland-Bakersfield) hit a solo home run in the third; Payton Allen (Golden West) and Souza each delivered two-run singles in the fourth and Munoz had a two-run double in the eighth for the Giants.
Souza finished with four of COS' seven hits.
The Giants closed the series against Cosumnes River (5-6) with a 5-2 victory Feb. 16 that was highlighted by an eight-inning start from Jaylen Rodriguez (Redwood).
Rodriguez (3-0) allowed two earned runs on seven hits and a walk while striking out five. JT Friesen (Immanuel) pitched a perfect ninth with two strikeouts to earn his sixth save.
Allen gave COS the lead for good in the fourth inning when he connected for a bases-loaded triple.
Next week, COS will face Taft (2-9) as CVC play continues with games set for 2 p.m. Feb. 25 at Taft, 2 p.m. Feb. 27 at COS and 1 p.m. Feb. 29 at Taft.