Comets blazing hot against Olympians

Palomar starting pitching Jake Barnett throws a pitch against San Diego City College on Mar 25 at Myer’s Field. Barnett threw 6 1/3rd innings, allowing only 1 run in the Comets 6-1 win over the Knights. The win improved Palomar’s conference record to 11-2. Scott Colson/The Telescope

Palomar starting pitching Jake Barnett throws a pitch against San Diego City College on Mar 25 at Myer’s Field. Barnett threw 6 1/3rd innings, allowing only 1 run in the Comets 6-1 win over the Knights. The win improved Palomar’s conference record to 11-2. Scott Colson/The Telescope

Palomar College and San Diego Mesa College played a nail-bitter on April 13 that could have gone either way for six innings, but the Comets were able to get some late offense against the Olympians’ bullpen to push its winning streak to nine straight games with a 5-3 victory at Palomar’s Myers Field.

Palomar first baseman Anthony Balderas catches a pickoff throw from starting pitcher Zach Wilkins against Southwestern College on Mar 13 at Myer’s Field. Wilkins threw 7 2/3rd innings only allowing 2 earned runs in the Comet’s 7-2 loss against the Jaguars. Scott Colson/The Telescope

Palomar first baseman Anthony Balderas catches a pickoff throw from starting pitcher Zach Wilkins against Southwestern College on Mar 13 at Myer’s Field. Wilkins threw 7 2/3rd innings only allowing 2 earned runs in the Comet’s 7-2 loss against the Jaguars. Scott Colson/The Telescope

The win was Palomar’s third straight victory against San Diego Mesa in the last five days. As of April 15, after Palomar played against Imperial Valley College, the Comets are 22-9 for the season, 17-2 in conference, for the top spot in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference.

“We have a really good team this season and have a real good shot in the post season,” said Palomar starting pitcher Emilo Esquibel.

San Diego Mesa got off to an early 2-0 lead in the game with RBI singles by left fielder Ryan Lawson in the third inning and fifth inning.

After tying the game in the bottom of the fifth inning on an RBI single by center fielder Dillan Smith, Palomar was able to stage a late rally in the seventh inning.

In the seventh, with the bases loaded, San Diego Mesa relief pitcher Rex Clemens hit Smith with a pitch to drive in first baseman Eric Sapp to make the game 3-2 Palomar.

With the bases still loaded, left fielder Matt Matlock delivered an RBI single to score right fielder Alec Salcedo, and then shortstop Dennis Morton scored second baseman Chris Stratton on a single to right field to make the score 5-2.

Palomar would play small ball in the decisive inning with no extra-base hits and two of the four hits being bunts.

Head Baseball Coach Buck Taylor said small ball has been Palomar’s identity in past, but this season’s team does have guys who can really drive the ball, but lately the team has had trouble scoring runs with guys in scoring position.

“Small ball wins games … We have a lot of guys with just a raw ability to play baseball,” Smith said.

Palomar outfielder Matt Matlock doubles against Southwestern College on Mar 13 at Myer’s Field. Matlock went 2-3 with 2 doubles in the Comet’s 7-2 loss against the Jaguars. Scott Colson/The Telescope

Palomar outfielder Matt Matlock doubles against Southwestern College on Mar 13 at Myer’s Field. Matlock went 2-3 with 2 doubles in the Comet’s 7-2 loss against the Jaguars. Scott Colson/The Telescope

San Diego Mesa would get a late run in the eighth inning on an RBI single by center fielder Kyle Harris to make the final score 5-3 Palomar.

Esquibel and San Diego Mesa’s Neiko Yribe both gave strong performances in the game, but Equibel was able to get the better of the match-up this time around.

After a slow start, Esquibel gave Palomar seven strong innings with two runs on five hits and three strikeouts.

“That’s what he (Esquibel) does … smoke and mirrors … he changes speeds, works at the knees, uses his defense and he was really good for us today,” Taylor said.

Aside from health and key injuries to infielders Aaron Blackwell, Vince Mori and pitcher Josh Bravin, Taylor said he really likes the potential of the team going forward.

These statistics are from April 15 and the team has played two games since. Updated stats on the team and players can be found on Palomar’s athletic website.

Author: Steve Kirch

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