'California State Tournament Runner-Up 2005'
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2015 Season ...
ABOVE: Palomar catcher Francis Christy, about to tag San Joaquin Delta's Collin Theroux at the plate in the third inning in Sunday's second game, was announced as State Player of the Year during the CCCAA State Championship Final Four. BELOW: The Comets' Jake Barnett, shown pitching in Sunday's first game vs. eventual state champion Orange Coast, also was named to the all-state first team. -- Photos by Philip Farry
Player of Year Christy, Barnett 1st-team all-state
FRESNO (5-25-2015) -- Palomar sophomore catcher Francis Christy, who tied for the state lead with 11 home runs and was third in RBIs with 52, was named California Community College Player of the Year during the weekend's CCCAA Final Four.
Christy was joined on the first team by sophomore left-hander and Palomar teammate Jake Barnett. Two Comets were named second-team all-state and first-team All-Southern California, freshman left-handed pitcher Taylor Turski, who was 8-0 on the year, and freshman shortstop Dylan Breault.
Christy, expected to go somewhere in the early rounds of next month's draft, hit .326 for his sophomore season with 12 doubles, 1 triple, the 11 home runs and a .599 slugging percentage. He also stole 10 bases on 12 attempts.
Christy's RBI total places him fourth on the all-time Palomar single-season list. His HR total ties in for seventh on the all-time PC list.
Barnett, the 2013 CIF-San Diego Section strikeout leader at Orange Glen High School, had a 9-3 pitching record on the season with a 2.65 earned run average. He struck out 91 batters while walking 22.
Barnett, who was 8-2 a year ago as a freshman, like Christy was a two-time All-Pacific Coast Athletic Conference first-team selection. His 17 career victories ties him for sixth on the all-time Palomar list.
ABOVE SEQUENCE: Chase Grant (2) scores on a squeeze by Alex Salcedo (top photo) in the second inning to give Palomar a 4-0 lead over Fresno City College before a stunned standing-room-only partisan Rams crowd that packed John Euless Ballpark on the first night of the Final Four on Saturday. Grant had just put the Comets in front 3-0 with a bases-loaded triple on the previous play. He also doubled two innings later as he drove in four of Palomar's seven runs. BELOW: The camera captures the Comets being introduced before their 7-3 win over the Rams. -- Photos by Philip Farry
PC tags Fresno 7-3 but settles for 3rd in state
FRESNO (5-24-2015) (5-25-2015) -- Palomar pounded tournament host Fresno City College 7-3 behind Chase Grant's four RBIs, stunning a standing-room only crowd to begin the CCCAA State Champion Final Four on Saturday night at John Euless Ballpark.
But Jake Barnett lost a pitching duel to Art Vidrio 3-0 on Sunday afternoon and the Comets were unable to completely recover as they lost 14-7 to San Joaquin Delta that evening and were eliminated. Orange Coast went on to beat Delta 9-4 on Monday, going undefeated in the double-elimination event to win its second straight state title.
Palomar had to "settle" for third in the state, finishing its season 37-8. It was the first time the Comets were shut out all season and the first time they lost two straight games.
Joey Cooper went 3-for-4 with two RBIs in the win over Fresno, while Taylor Turski ran his win-loss record to 8-0 by striking out five battters over the first 6 2/3 innings. Graham Gomez finished up with 2 1/3 shutout innings.
Against Orange Coast, Palomar wasted Barnett's pitching performance after blowing an opportunity to get back in the game in the sixth inning, when they loaded the bases with two outs. A pinch-hitter popped up to the third baseman on the first pitch.
State Player of the Year Francis Christy went 2-for-4 and Anthony Balderas was 2-for-3 against the Pirates. Vince Mori, Cooper and Grant also hit safely.
Delta jumped out to an early 12-1 lead in the final game of the tournament for Palomar, but the Comets refused to give in and battled back to close to within 12-7 with five runs in the fifth inning and one more in the sixth. The latter came on Christy's 11th home run of the year, which disappeared high over the rightfield wall to lead off the inning.
But Palomar could get no closer, leaving two runners on base after Christy's homer in the seventh and stranding three more runners in the eighth. The Comets loaded the bases with one out but the next two batters flied out to left and struck out. The Mustangs added a pair of late insurance runs.
Palomar left 14 runners for the game and stranded 27 runners over three games
For the game, Mori went 4-for-5 and Christy was 3-for-4 and walked twice, once intentionally, to close out 5-for-6 for his last game and a half as a Comet. Cooper was 3-for-6, finishing the tournament 7-for-12 over three games, and Salcedo went 3-for-5.
Chris Stratton added a pair of hits. Grant singled to drive in a run.
Palomar pounded out 18 hits in the loss -- but Delta had 19 hits off four Comet pitchers.
It was the Comets' second appearance in the Final Four. They were runners-up in the state tournament in 2005. They needed one win to bring home the state championship but lost twice the final day to Santa Rosa, which wrapped up the title.
Barnett to Lewis-Clark; PC opens in Final Four
SAN MARCOS (5-20-2015) -- Palomar's two-time All-Pacific Coast Athletic Conference first-team pitcher Jake Barnett has signed with the NAIA's premier baseball program, Lewis-Clark State College of Lewiston, Idaho.
Barnett (photo by Hugh Cox) will take a 9-2 win-loss record for 2015 to Fresno as the nationally second-ranked Comets open play in the CCCAA State Chamionship Final Four against host Fresno City College on Saturday night. He accepted a full scholarship to pitch for the Lewis-Clark State Warriors.
Lewis-Clark State has won 16 NAIA baseball national championships and has finished as runner-up the last two seasons to Faulkner University of Alabama in 2013 and Cumberland University of Tennessee in 2014. No other NAIA program has won more than four national titles.
The Warriors will host the 2015 NAIA World Series beginning Friday at Harris Field in Lewiston.
Barnett, who led the CIF San Diego Section in strikeouts at Orange Glen High School in 2013, drew heavy recruiting interest early in the current season from some of the top programs in NCAA Division I, notably Cal State Fullerton and current No. 7-ranked Vanderbilt. But he would have had to spend additional time at Palomar to receive an A.A. degree in order to transfer to Division I.
Palomar will play Fresno City College, which is ranked ninth in the nation, to begin the State Championship Final Four at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Rams' John Euless Ballpark. Nationally No. 1 ranked San Joaquin Delta and 2014 state and mythical national champion Orange Coast are in the opposite bracket.
The Comets previously advanced to the Final Four in 2005, losing to Santa Rosa in the state championship game.
TOP PHOTO: The Comets are back in celebration mode after sweeping their best 2-of-3 Sectional Series from Saddleback on Sunday, winning 4-3 in 11 innings to qualify for next weekend's State Championship Final Four. -- Photo by Deb Hellman. DIRECTLY ABOVE: Second baseman Chris Stratton takes a throw from catcher Francis Christy in the fifth inning and tags out Jack Kaloogian trying to steal. -- Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW: Pitcher Jake Barnett, who pitched four-hit ball over the first nine innings
PC wins last game ever at Myers, Fresno-bound
SAN MARCOS (5-17-2015) -- Palomar made its final appearance ever at ancient Myers Field a memorable one, beating Saddleback 4-3 in 11 innings to sweep the team's best 2-of-3 Sectional series 2 games to 0 to qualify for next weekend's State Championship Final Four.
The Comets, visitors on their own field, got nine innings of four-hit pitching from starter Jake Barnett, who struck out five and walked one before leaving the game after nine inning with the score tied 3-3. Barnett retired the last 11 Saddleback batters he faced.
Rusty Huber (4-0) shut out the Gauchos in the 10th and 11th innings to notch the win.
Palomar scored the winning run in the top of the 11th after Saddleback reliever Trevor Charpie tried to pitch around Francis Christy and walked him. Travis Mitchell moved Christy to second with a sacrifice bunt.
Vince Mori drove in Christy with what turned out to be the game-winner when he singled to right centerfield.
Anthony Balderas went 2-for-4 with a pair of infield hits as the Comets made the most of six hits. Chris Stratton and Alec Salcedo each drove in a run with a double. Dylan Brault added a single.
The right side of the infield, with Stratton at second and Balderas at first, made a series of spectacular defensive plays. Derek Black, who replaced Balderas at first after Sam Casinelli pinch ran for Balderas in the top of the ninth, also had a big defensive play when he made an acrobatic pick of a throw coming across the infield for out No. 2 in the Saddleback 11th inning.
The nationally No. 2-ranked Comets (36-6) , making their second appearance ever in the Final Four after finishing second in the state in 2005, will play their first game on Saturday night against tournament host and nationally No. 9-ranked Fresno City College (35-9) at the Rams' John Euless Ballpark. The Rams swept their Sectional series from Feather River 2-0.
Nationally No. 1-ranked San Joaquin Delta (39-5), which eliminated College of San Mateo 7-2 on Sunday, will play the noon game to open the tournament against Orange Coast (27-17), which eliminated Santa Barbara City College 10-2 on Sunday.
Saddleback finished its season 27-16.
ABOVE: Palomar's Vince Mori slides safely into third base on a wild pitch in the fourth inning of Saturday's 6-1 Sectional victory over Saddleback at Myers Field. -- Photo by Deb Hellman. BELOW: Taylor Turski delivers a pitch on the way to a complete-game victory. He's 7-0 on the season. -- Photo by Philip Farry
PC tops S'back 6-1, can sweep series Sunday
SAN MARCOS (5-16-2015) -- Nationally No. 2-ranked Palomar thumped Saddleback 6-1 on Saturday on Taylor Turski's complete-game five-hitter and can sweep the teams' best 2-of-3 sectional series 2 games to 0 by winning Sunday's 1 p.m. game.
With a victory, the Comets (35-6) would advance to the CCCAA State Championship Final Four next Friday through Sunday at Fresno City College's John Euless Ballpark.
In Saturday's game, Turski (7-0) struck out seven and walked one. The freshman left-hander from Temecula Valley High School faced the minimum three batters in the fourth, fifth, eighth and ninth innings.
Palomar banged out 10 hits off Saddleback starter and loser Cameron Aufderheide, who came into the game with a 6-0 record, and two relievers. Three Comets contributed multiple hits behind Turski -- Vince Mori (2-for-3, 2 RBIs), Chris Stratton (2-for-5, double) and Joey Cooper (2-for-4).
Palomar took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first on Stratton's double to leftfield and Travis Mitchell's RBI single to right.
The Comets broke the game open with a four-run outburst in the bottom of the fifth, when they chased Aufderheide from the mound.
With one out, Dylan Breault walked. Stratton singled to the shortstop, who threw the ball away to allow Breault to reach third. Stratton was out trying to take second on the error.
Francis Christy was walked intentionally, then stole second to put runners at second and third with one out. Mitchell reached base as a hit batter, loading the bases.
Mori's grounder just inside the foul line hit the third-base bag for a single and bounced past the bag, driving in both Breault and Stratton to make it 3-0. Cooper singled to center and Anthony Balderas, playing first base in place of the injured Niko Holm, lined a single to center, scoring Christy and Mitchell and giving Palomar a 5-0 lead.
After Dan James homered over the rightfield fence in the seventh inning for the Gauchos' only run, the Comets made it 6-0 in the eighth after Balderas walked. Pinch-runner Sam Castinelli stole second and third, scoring when the Saddleback catcher threw wildly to third.
Breault and Chase Grant also had singles for the Comets.
If Palomar wins Sunday, the game would be the final one ever played at historic Myers Field, the Comets' baseball home for the last 62 years. If a third game is necessary Monday, then that would be the last game ever at the facility, was was completed during the Eisenhower administration. After this final home series of 2015, the Comets will moving to a brand-new, multi-million dollar facility which is nearly completed at the north end of campus.
Myers Field will be turned into a parking lot.
Palomar jumps to No. 2 in national rankings
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (5-14-2015) --Palomar (34-6) has jumped up to No. 2 in the National Community College baseball rankings compiled by Perfect Game USA of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
San Joaquin Delta College of Stockton (37-3) remains No. 1 in the country. The previous second-, third- and fourth-ranked teams all lost last week in the NJCAA playoffs for non-California and non-Pacific Northwest teams, helping the Comets make the leap from No. 5.
California teams are now ranked 1-2 in the nation with sectional play coming up this weekend to determine spots in next week's CCCAA State Final Four in Fresno, where the Comets and the top-ranked San Joaquin Delta Mustangs could conceivably meet. Palomar begins a best 2-of-3 Sectional series vs. Saddleback at Myers Field at 1 p.m. Friday.
Other Top 10 teams are No. 3 Iowa Western, No. 4 Walters State of Tennessee, No. 5 Southern Nevada, No. 6 Northwest Florida State, No. 7 Cowley County (Kansas), No. 8 St. Johns River (Florida), No. 9 Fresno City College and No. 10 Yavapai (Arizona). Other ranked West Coast teams are No. 20 Lower Columbia (Washington) and No. 23 Santa Barbara City College.
NATIONAL COMMUNITY COLLEGE BASEBALL RANKINGS
2. Palomar College (Southern California), 34-6
3. Iowa Western Community College (Iowa), 48-5
4. Walters State College (Tennessee), 51-10
5. College of Southern Nevada (Nevada), 44-15
6. Northwest Florida State College (Florida), 37-12
7. Cowley County Community College (Kansas), 54-5
8. St. Johns River State College (Florida), 47-10
9. Fresno City College (Northern California), 33-9
10. Yavapai College (Arizona), 41-16
Comets bid goodbye to Myers Field in qualifier
SAN MARCOS (5-14-2015) (UPDATED 5-15-2015) --Myers Field, Palomar's baseball home for the last 62 years, will be the site of its final community college games when the Comets host Saddleback in a best 2-of-3 Sectional Playoff this weekend. The first game was rained out Friday and now will be played at 1 p.m. Saturday.
The winner of the series between the nationally No. 2-ranked Comets (34-6) and the Gauchos (27-14) moves on to the CCCAA State Championship Final Four over Memorial Day weekend at Fresno City College.
Next season, the Comets will play at their much-anticipated new baseball complex currently being finished at the northern end of campus.
As for Myers Field, after this weekend's games it will be demolished and turned into a parking lot in October.
The second game of the Palomar-Saddleback series is now scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m. with a third game, if necessary, slated for Monday at 3 p.m.
Parking for the series will be free in lot 14 just east of the Palomar campus on Mission Road.
Comets' Christy PCAC Men's Athlete of Week
SAN DIEGO (5-12-2015) -- Palomar baseball player Francis Christy has been selected by the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference as Men's Athlete of the Week for all sports for the two-week period that ended Monday.
Frank Christy, a sophomore from Casa Grande High in Peteluma and the Comets' catcher in baseball, is projected to go high in next month's draft. Entering this weekend's best 2-of-3 Sectional series against Saddleback, the last stop before the State Final Four, he is second in California with 10 home runs, just 1 HR behind the leader, and is third in the state in RBIs with 50.
On Monday, Christy slugged a 2-run home run, also singled, and drove in 3 runs for the day as the Comets swept their Super Regional series with Irvine Valley 11-1. He leads Palomar with a .333 batting average and has a .621 slugging percentage, a .414 on-base percentage, 12 doubles, 1 triple, the 10 home runs and 9 stolen bases on 11 attempts.
Christy previously was selected as PCAC Player of the Year.
TOP PHOTO: Palomar coach Buck Taylor argued that Joey Cooper was safe on this stolen base attempt in the sixth inning on Sunday, but the umpire called Cooper out. Irvine Valley's second baseman is Cory Mendoza. DIRECTLY ABOVE: In a bang-bang play, the Lasers' Dillon Millar slides into second in the third inning as shortstop Dylan Breault goes to apply a tag. Millar was ruled safe with a stolen base. Second baseman Chis Stratton is behind Breault. -- Photos by Hugh Cox. BELOW LEFT: Jake Barnett, who advanced to 9-2 with the pitching win. BELOW RIGHT: Francis Christy, who slugged home run No. 10 in the third inning.
Comets roll, are 2 wins away from Final Four
SAN MARCOS (5-10-2015) -- Palomar is only two wins away from its second CCCAA State Final Four appearance and first since 2005 after clubbing Irvine Valley 11-1 behind pitcher Jake Barnett on Friday to sweep the teams' series in two games.
The sweep puts the Southern California No. 1 seed Comets (34-6) into a best 2-of-3 series against No. 11 seed Saddleback beginning next Friday at Myers Field. The Gauchos knocked off Golden West 8-7 on Sunday to win their series 2-1.
Barnett scattered six hits over the first eight innings, striking out six and walking none, to run his win-loss record to 9-2.
After the first reliever coach Buck Taylor brought in struggled, Graham Gomez came in with none out and two runners on base and retired the next three batters on a fly ball, a strikeout and a fielder's choice.
Palomar, the visitor in game 2 on its own field, banged out 15 hits, including Francis Christy's 10th home run of the season, and buried the Lasers with a five-run outburst in the top of the ninth inning that turned a 6-1 game into a complete blowout.
Travis Mitchell (3-for-5, two doubles, RBI), Joey Cooper (3-for-4, double) and Alec Salcedo (3-for-4, RBI, stolen base) had nine hits between them. Christy went 2-for-5, slugged home run No. 10 in the third inning and drove in three runs. Chris Stratton (2-for-3, sacrifice bunt, two RBIs, walk) also had multiple hits.
Vince Mori (two-run double, hit-by-pitch) and Niko Holm also hit safely. Dylan Brault contributed two walks and a sacrifice bunt.
Irvine Valley finished its season 23-18.
TOP PHOTO: Palomar catcher Francis Christy tags out Irvine Valley's Trey Ryan, who tried to score on Dillon Miller's fourth-inning squeeze attempt, in Saturday's Super Regional opener. Pitcher Taylor Turski fielded the bunt and gunned down Ryan at home. DIRECTLY ABOVE: Closer Rusty Huber pitches on the way to his fifth save. -- Photos by Hugh Cox. BELOW: Turski, who threw 7 1/3 innings and ran his win-loss record to 6-0. He and Huber teamed up to throw a four-hit shutout.
Turski and Huber combine to shut out Lasers
SAN MARCOS (5-09-2015) -- Taylor Turski and Rusty Huber combined to throw a four-hit shutout at Irvine Valley on Saturday as Palomar downed Irvine Valley 3-0 at Myers Field in the opening game of the Palomar Super Regional.
The Comets will attempt to sweep the best 2-of-3 series on Sunday at 1 p.m. If the Lasers were to win, there would be a third game on Monday at 2:30 p.m.
Turski pitched the first 7 1/3 innings Saturday, allowing four hits and striking out five batters, to go to 6-0 on the season. He trimmed his earned-run average to 0.71 for 63 1/3 innings. Huber pitched 1 2/3 innings of hitless, shutout relief ball, striking out two, for his fifth save of the season.
Turski also made two huge defensive plays, both on Irvine Valley bunts. He threw out Dillon Miller at first with an acrobatic play in the second inning and cut down Trey Ryan at the plate on an attempted squeeze play in the fourth inning.
Shortstop and leadoff hitter Dylan Breault doubled, singled and got down a key sacrifice bunt to set up the first run of the game as he led the Comets at the plate by going 2-for-3.
Palomar took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third when Alec Salcedo walked, stole second, went to third on Breault's sacrifice bunt and scored on Chris Stratton's ground ball to the right side.
The Comets added a pair of insurance runs in the sixth. Stratton led off the inning with a booming double over the leftfielder's head. Francis Christy reached base as a hit batter. Anthony Balderas moved the runners up with a sacrifice bunt. Nico Helm followed with a picture perfect bunt on a suicide squeeze, scoring Stratton. Vince Mori then doubled to right to drive in Christy.
Palomar's execution at the plate proved to be critical as the Comets got down five sacrifice bunts. Holm contributed two of the sacrifices, including his squeeze bunt, and also singled in going 1-for-2.
Salcedo also beat out a surprise push bunt for a single. Balderas and Ryan Lemus singled for the other Palomar hits.
Stratton, playing second base, had more outstanding defensive plays to add to his season total.
If Palomar wins its Super Regional, the Comets will play another best 2-of-3 playoff series at home next weekend with the winner advancing to the CCCAA state Final Four over Memorial Day weekend at Fresno City College.
Taylor is PCAC Coach of Year for all sports
VENTURA (5-06-2015) -- Palomar baseball coach Buck Taylor has been selected as the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference's 2014-15 Men's Sports Coach of the Year for all sports.
Athletic directors from the conference's 10 member colleges selected Taylor for the honor at the PCAC meeting at the Crowne Pointe Hotel Ventura Beach, where all the Southern California community college conferences met this week both individually and as a group. It's the second time Taylor has received this award. He previously was honored in 2008-09.
Southwestern men's soccer coach Cem Tont, who previously was Palomar's women's head coach, was runner-up for the award.
Taylor's 2015 team is ranked fifth in the nation and seeded No. 1 in the Southern California Regional Playoffs. The Comets host Irvine Valley on Friday, Saturday and (if necessary) Sunday in a best 2-of-3 second round regional series. Friday's game is slated for 2 p.m.
Vince Mori, pictured rounding third base in one of Palomar's four 2015 victories over Grossmont College, is the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference's Outstanding Male Scholar-Athlete for all sports. -- Photo by Hugh Cox
Palomar's Mori is top PCAC Scholar-Athlete
VENTURA (5-06-2015) -- Palomar baseball third baseman Vince Mori was selected as the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference's 2014-15 Outstanding Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year for all sports by conference athletic directors at the Southern California meetings on Tuesday.
With spring grades still to come, the Westview High School graduate entered the 2015 spring semester with a 3.95 cumulative grade-point average for 60.5 units. A business administration major, Mori has posted a perfect 4.0 grade-point average in two of his three fulltime semesters at Palomar. He's currently enrolled in 20 units during the spring semester.
Mori is batting .315 for the 2015 Comets.
An All-PCAC honorable mention selection who likely missed first-team honors because of injuries that sidelined him during part of the season, has helped lead the Comets to back-to-back conference championships, current No. 1 Southern California Regional playoff seed, No. 5 national ranking and a 58-17 two-year record entering this weekend's playoff round 2.
He's being recruited by Santa Clara, Northern Colorado, UC San Diego and Cal State University San Bernardino.
TOP PHOTO: Winning pitcher Jake Barnett fields a surprise bunt and throws out Riverside's Logan Griffin at first to lead off the third inning on Saturday. Catcher Francis Christy trails the play. DIRECTLY ABOVE: Second baseman Chris Stratton tags out RCC's Brody Weiss, the son of Colorado Rockies manager Walt Weiss, for out No. 3 in the third. Brody Weiss was able to be at the game. -- Photos by Hugh Cox. BELOW: Chase Grant, who drove in two of Palomar's four runs.
Comets tame the Tigers again, sweep series
SAN MARCOS (5-02-2015) -- Jake Barnett pitched eight strong innings Saturday, retiring 14 of 15 batters at one point and advancing to 8-2, as No. 1 seed Palomar beat Riverside City College 4-2 at Myers Field to sweep the teams' first-round Southern California playoff series 2 games to 0.
The Comets move on to host 17th-seed Irvine Valley, which swept No. 2 seed Oxnard, in a second-round best 2-of-3 series next weekend at Myers Field. The first game will be played at 2 p.m. Friday.
Barnett allowed one earned run in his eight-inning stint, when RCC took advantage of two Palomar errors to cut a 4-0 deficit to 4-2 in the eighth inning. Rusty Huber relieved Barnett to begin the ninth and blanked the Tigers in the inning to record his fourth save.
Barnett struck out six and walked none.
Chris Stratton, who led Palomar (32-6) by going 2-for-3 with a walk and a steal, singled to lead off the third inning and wound up on third when the ball got past the Riverside right fielder for a two-base error. Chase Grant, the next batter, gave the Comets a 1-0 lead with a sacrifice fly to left.
The Comets added their other three runs in the fifth inning after Niko Holm led off by being hit by a pitch. Joey Cooper sacrificed Holm to second, Stratton singled and Grant singled to left to drive in Holm with his second RBI of the afternoon. Dylan Brault singled to drive in Stratton, then scored on Alec Salcedo's RBI ground ball to the first baseman.
Palomar made the most out of four hits to win it. Grant went 2-for-2 with the sacrifice fly and a walk. Holm worked Riverside's pitchers to reach base three times, onece by drawing a walk and twice more as a hit batter.
ABOVE: Anthony Balderas avoids Riverside third baseman Thomas Pincin's tag and successfully steals third base in the fourth inning on Friday. He scored later in the inning on Joey Cooper's single. -- Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW: Travis Mitchell (left), who drove in two runs with a first-inning single, and Alec Salcedo (right), who tripled to drive home three runs in the seventh, breaking the game open
PC blows past Riverside in regional opener
SAN MARCOS (5-01-2015) -- On the same day the Padres recalled former Palomar pitcher Nick Vincent from Triple-A San Antonio, Vincent's old team got a combined four-hitter from Taylor Turski and Graham Gomez to beat Riverside City College 7-3 at Myers Field on Friday.
The win, in the first game of the teams' best two-of-three first-round Southern California Regional playoff series, also featured big hits from the Comets ' Travis Mitchell (a two-run single in the first inning) and Alec Salcedo (a bases-loaded triple which broke the game open in the bottom of the eighth).
Although the teams made three errors apiece, the match-up also featured spectacular defensive plays by both sides, with second baseman Chris Stratton providing multiple gems for Palomar.
The Comets and Tigers will play the second game of the series on Saturday at 11 a.m. with a third game to follow if RCC wins.
Turski, who struck out six and walked one over the first six innings, allowed one earned run before departing with the score tied 3-3. Gomez recorded the victory with three no-hit, shutout relief innings, going to 4-2 on the season.
These two teams once were rivals in the old Mission Confernece, but Friday's game was the first between the Comets and Tigers since 2007, when they split back-to-back non-conference games early in the season.
Vincent pitched a four-hit complete game on Feb. 7 of that year at Myers Field to pin a 6-1 defeat on the Tigers, who came into the game ranked No. 2 in the nation by Perfect Game Baseball USA. RCC rallied to beat the Cometrs 7-5 two days later in Riverside and the two schools had not met again until Friday.
This time it was Palomar that came in with the national ranking, No. 5.
Riverside was on top 1-0 after scoring an unearned run in the top of the first, when Mitchell singled up the middle, driving in Dylan Breault and Francis Christiy, who both had walked.
The Tigers pulled even at 2-2 with another unearned run in the fourth inning after a dropped fly ball only to have the Comets regain the led 3-2 in the bottom of the inning when Anthony Balderas singled and eventually scored on Joey Cooper's opposite-field single to left.
Cleanup hitter David Schuknecht homered over the rightfield fence to pull Riverside even again, this time at 3-3, in the sixth inning.
Tht's when the Comets busted the game open with a four-run rally in the last half of the eighth.
Cooper reached base as a hit batter, Chase Grant singled with one out and Breault drew his third walk of the game to load the bases for Salcedo, whose three-run triple went deep into the rightfield corner. That put Palomar up 6-3. Salcedo scored run No. 7 on a passed ball.
Christy, whom the Tigers had walked twice, followed with a single but was left stranded.
BASEBALL: All-Conference Team
ABOVE: Palomar sophomore catcher Francis Christy, shown rounding the bases after a home run, is Palomar's third straight conference player of the year. -- Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW: Buck Taylor, named PCAC Coach of the Year for the seventh time -- File photo by Hugh Cox
Christy is Player of Yr.; Taylor is Coach of Yr.
SAN DIEGO (4-30-2015) -- Francis Christy was selected as Palomar's third consecutive conference Player of the Year and Buck Taylor was named Coach of the Year for the seventh time in his 10 seasons as the Comets' head coach at the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference postseason meeting on Wednesday.
Five players from Palomar's No. 5 nationally-ranked and Southern California Regionals top-seeded team received first-team recognition in balloting among conference head coaches.
The Comets' first-team PCAC selections are Christy, sophomore left-handed pitcher Jake Barnett, freshman left-handed pitcher Turski, sophomore right-handed reliever Taylor Russell and freshman shortstop Dylan Brauldt. Christy and Barnett are repeat selections who also made the first team last season.
Kyle Montiel, who moved on to pitch for Cal State San Marcos, and Dylan Smith, now the starting rightfielder at San Jose State, were PCAC Player of the Year selections in 2013 and 2014, respectively.
Receiving honorable mention were freshman corner infielder Niko Holm sophomore outfielder Alex Salcedo, sohomore third baseman Vince Mori, sophomore second baseman Chris Stratton, sophomore utility player Anthony Balderas, freshman right-handed pitcher Troy Lamparello,sophomore right-handed reliever Rusty Huber, sophomore left-handed reliever Graham Gomez and freshman outfielder Joey Cooper.
The Comets will open Southern Calkiornia Regional play by hosting a best-of-3 first-round series vs. Riverside City College this weekend at Myers Field. Game 1 will be played on Friday at 2 p.m. Game 2 is scheduled for Saturday at 11 a.m. with a third game, if necessary, to follow.
PCAC: Athlete of the Week
Turski gets conference honor for all sports
SAN DIEGO (4-27-2015) -- Palomar baseball pitcher Taylor Turski has been selected as Pacific Coast Athletic Conference Men's Athlete of the Week for April 20-26 for all sports.
Turski, a freshman left-hander from Temecula Valley High School, advanced to 5-0 with an ERA of 0.72, which wound up second-best in the state for the regular season, as he shut out second-place Southwestern to give the Comets their fifth straight conference championship.
Turski pitched the first eight innings as he combined with Rusty Huber on the shutout. His win pushed the nationally No. 5-ranked Comets over the top for the No. 1 seed in the Southern California community college regional playoffs.
Alec Salcedo's seventh-inning bunt single loaded the bases, just before Francis Christy worked Southwestern pitcher Calvin Faucher for a bases-loaded walk that put Palomar in front 3-2 Thursday. Christy (below left) went 2-for-4 with two RBIs. He doubled to drive in a run in the Comets' ninth-inning rally that lifted the Comets to a 7-4 victory. Travis Mitchell (below right), who followed Christy to the plate, had what turned out to be the game-winning RBI when he singled to right to score Chase Grant. -- Above photo by Russell Scoffin, Southwestern College
Comets get 30th win with ninth-inning rally
CHULA VISTA (4-23-2015) -- Visiting Palomar, trailing by a run going into the ninth inning, pushed across four runs off ace Southwestern closer Kevin Ginkel on Thursday and beat the Jaguars for the second time in three days 7-4.
The Comets, ranked No. 1 in Southern California and No. 5 in the nation, ran their current win streak to 10 games and notched their 30th victory of 2015. They'll take a 30-5 record and a 21-2 Pacific Coast Athletic Conference mark into their regular-season finale against the Jaguars at home on Myers Field at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Coach Buck Taylor's PCAC champions are expected to be the No. 1 seed in the Southern California Community College Regionals that start next weekend.
Starter Tyler Russell, who pitched six innings of four-hit ball, had left the game by the time the Jaguars, down 3-2, took the lead 4-3 with a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the eighth.
That set the stage for Palomar's big top of the ninth, which started when Ginkel hit Salcedo, the Comets' leadoff hitter, with a pitch. Pinch-hitter Chase Grant drew a walk and state RBI leader Francis Christy slammed an opposite-field double to leftfield to drive in Salcedo and tie the game at 4-4.
Travis Mitchell, the next batter, singled to left to score Grant with what turned out to be the winning run.
Dylan Brault lined a sacrifice fly to the leftfielder, chasing home Christy and putting Palomar up 6-4. After a Derek Black single, Mitchell stole third and came home on a balk, making the final score 7-4.
Russell had opened the game with a dominant first five innings, when he shut out Southwestern on one hit, striking out six, as Niko Holm staked him to a 1-0 lead in the top of the fifth, when he singled in Dylan Breault, who had singled and taken second on a passed ball.
Brault drew a bases-loaded walk in the top of the sixth, putting the Comets on top 2-0. The Jaguars tied it up with two runs in the bottom of the sixth, but the Comets then went back in front 3-2 in the seventh when Christy walked with the bases loaded.
Joey Cooper, Chris Stratton and Salcedo had banged out consecutive singles to load the bases. Salcedo's hit came on a bunt single to the third-base side.
Troy Lamparello, Graham Gomez and Anthony Balderas pitched hitless ball over the final three innings for Palomar, but the Comets made two errors which allowed Southwestern to regain the lead in the eighth.
Balderas came on in relief in the eighth, then retired the Jaguars in the bottom of the ninth on a walk, a strikeout and a double play from Stratton at second base to Breault at shortstop to Black at first to end the the game. Balderas recorded the win to go to 2-0 on the year.
Christy went 2-for-4 with the double, walk and two RBIs to pace a nine-hit attack for the Comets. Breault was 2-for-3 with the walk, sac fly and two RBIs.
TOP PHOTO: Taylor Turski pitches to Southwestern on Tuesday at Myers Field. He threw eight five-hit, scoreless innings as the Comets won 7-0. DIRECTLY ABOVE: The Comets celebrate clinching their fifth conference championship in a row. -- Photos by Hugh Cox. BELOW: Chase Grant, who came off the bench to drive in two runs with a pair of late-inning hits
Comets roll behind Turski for 5th title in row
SAN MARCOS (4-21-2015) -- This story never seems to get old for the Palomar College baseball team.
By shutting out second-place Southwestern 7-0 on Tuesday at Myers Field, Palomar clinched its fifth straight Pacific Coast Athletic Conference championship with two games still to play.
Taylor Turski (5-0) handcuffed the Jaguars for eight innings as he combined on a five-hit shutout with Rusty Huber, who came on to throw a 1-2-3 ninth inning. Turski, who struck out six batters and walked one, lowered his earned run average to 0.72 for 50 innings, tying him for the state community college lead with Santa Rosa's Garrett Hill.
Chase Grant came off the bench to drive in two big runs with a seventh-inning double which extended a 1-0 Palomar lead to 2-0 and an eighth-inning single that was among the highlights in a five-run outburst by the Comets.
Niko Holm (two singles), Chris Stratton (double and single), and Vince Mori (two singles) had two hits apiece. Francis Christy singled to drive in two runs as he took over the state RBI lead with 45. He leads Gage Matuszak of Feather River, who has 43 RBIs.
Palomar broke a scoreless tie when the Comets scored a fourth-inning run on singles by Travis Mitchell, Mori and Holm. Holm's hit drove in Mitchell.
The Comets took a 2-1 lead in the seventh when Stratton reached base as a hit batter, stole second, went to third on Alec Salcedo's sacrifice bunt and scored on Grant's single to left.
Palomar then broke the game open in the eighth inning, when they chased Southwestern starter Adrian Orozco, who came into the game with a 9-0 record, and reliever Dylan McDonald.
Dylan Breault singled to center to lead off the inning and, with one out, Holm singled to right to advance him to second. They advanced to second and third on a double steal and Stratton doubled into the right-centerfield gap with two outs to drive in both runners and make it 4-0.
Salcedo walked, Grant singled up the middle to score Stratton. Both runners moved up on a passed ball and Christy doubled to right, driving in Salcedo and Grant and making the final score 7-0.
Salcedo had the Comets' other hit, a single, as he finished the day 1-for-2 with two sacrifices and a walk. Holm was 2-for-3 with his RBI and also was hit by a pitch. Mori went 2-for-3 and also reached base as a hit batter. Stratton was 1-for-2 with the two run double, was hit by pitches twice and stole a base.
Palomar ran its current win streak to nine games and snapped Southwestern's win streak at 14 games.
Southern California No. 1-ranked Palomar advances to 29-5, 20-2 in conference with regular-season games remaining on Thursday at Southwestern and back home at Myers Field on Friday against the Jaguars. Southwestern is 27-7 and 17-5 in the PCAC.
TOP PHOTO: Palomar's Jordan Gardner slides under Ricky Kliebenstein's tag as he steals second base in the seventh inning on Thursday. DIRECTLY ABOVE: Winning pitcher Troy Lamparello fires to the plate. He struck out five batters in the first five innings.-- Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW: Taylor Turski, who struck out seven in three relief innings.
Lamparello (5-0), Turski fan 12; PC up 2 games
SAN MARCOS (3-12-2015) -- Starter Troy Lamparello and reliever Taylor Turski combined to strike out 12 batters over eight shutout innings on Thursday as Palomar beat San Diego City College 6-1 at Myers Field.
The Comets (16-4, 7-1 in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference) now lead second-place Southwestern by two games in the conference race, thanks to San Diego Mesa which came from behind to upset the Jaguars on Thursday 10-6.
Lamparello (5-0), Turski and two other Palomar pitchers combined to throw a three-hitter at the Knights. City College finally scored an unearned run in the top of the ninth, but Rusty Huber came on to get the Comets out of the inning by getting the last two outs.
Lamparello allowed three hits over the first five innings, striking out five batters. Turski retired all nin batters he faced over the next three innings, recording svn strikeouts. He struck out the side in the sixth and eighth innings.
Anthony Balderas (2-for-4, double, RBI, steal) and Alec Salcedo (2-for-3, RBI, steal) had multiple hits for the Comets. Francis Christy drove in a run with a triple, Cole Brooks had an RBI single and Jordan Gardner was 1-for-2, was hit by a pitch and also stole a base. Dylan Brault walked three times and also had a steal.
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