Samuel Bower delivered his best start of the season to lead College of the Sequoias' baseball team to a Central Valley Conference-opening 7-0 victory over Merced on Feb. 18.
Bower, a freshman right-hander out of Redwood High, pitched seven shutout innings to improve to 2-0. He gave up six hits, issued no walks and struck out four as the Giants improved to 13-1 overall.
Bower's previous best outing was four shutout innings during the Giants' 5-1 win at Allan Hancock on Jan. 28.
Anthony Torres (Exeter) completed the shutout against the Blue Devils (5-6, 0-1) by pitching the final two innings, giving up one hit while striking out three.
Donte Valdez (Redwood) ripped a run-scoring double to highlight a two-run fifth inning, Isaac Gonzalez (Redwood) had an RBI single during a two-run sixth inning, and Mike McKernan (Mt. Whitney) and Davis Beavers (Redwood) drew bases-loaded walks during a two-run seventh inning as the Giants pulled away.
Valdez led COS' 10-hit attack with a pair of singles and a double.
The Giants' CVC-opening series against the Blue Devils continues at 2 p.m. Feb. 20 at Merced and concludes at 1 p.m. Feb. 22 at COS.
Next week, the Giants face Taft (2-10, 0-1) in a CVC series set for 2 p.m. Feb. 25 on the road, 2 p.m. Feb. 27 at home, and 1 p.m. Feb. 29 on the road.