Comets baseball continued Pacific Coast Athletic Conference on Thursday, taking on San Diego City College at home for Game Two of a three-game series. Following a walkoff loss in Game One, the Comets looked to bounce back and even up the series, starting right-hander Braden Olthoff.
Olthoff, the team leader in strikeouts, got two quick outs to begin the game but quickly found himself in trouble following a four-pitch walk and a scary hit by pitch that resulted in the SDCC batter to leave the game. The following batter proceeded to ground the ball to shortstop Trevor Omahen, ending the inning.
The bats got going early for Palomar as designated hitter Braden Sanford led off the bottom half of the first with a sharp single and Omahen got on base via a hit by pitch. Third baseman Justin Foltz followed with a line drive single up the middle that scored Sanford and put runners on the corners for Noah Hemphill. The Palomar left fielder scored Omahen with a sacrifice fly.
In the top of the third inning the Knights were able to score their first run off of Olthoff following a leadoff double and a sacrifice fly. Olthoff was able to silence SDCC’s bats for the most part until the sixth inning. A leadoff single and two one-out walks loaded the bases and a long sacrifice fly allowed the tying run to score with just one out. Olthoff proceeded to walk the next batter on a full count, ending his day. Jorge Murrillo was brought in to face the next hitter and he was able to get him to ground out to second base.
Olthoff gave up two runs on six hits, four walks, two hit batsmen, and just three strikeouts.
Foltz led off the bottom half of the sixth with a double to right field and a one-out walk to first baseman Evan Ianniciello put runners on first and second for Cameron Rowles who was able to beat out a potential double play, putting runners on the corners. Rowles took off on a steal attempt before abruptly stopping in his tracks once he got the pitcher’s attention. With Rowles in a pickle between first and second base, Foltz sprinted home to score the go-ahead run, narrowly beating the throw to the plate.
The Comets were able to score a fourth run following an error by SDCC’s first baseman and blew the game open in the bottom of the eighth on the strength of a pinch-hit three-run home run by Adrian Collazo, his first of the year.
With a five-run cushion, reliever Connor Zalewski was able to work around a leadoff walk in the top of the ninth to secure the win for the Comets, a 7-2 victory. In total Zalewski went three innings, striking out four batters and giving up just two hits.
Foltz went 2-for-4 in the ballgame with a double, run batted in, and run scored. Ianniciello went 1-for-2 with a double, two walks, and a run scored.
The win puts Palomar at 19-10-1 and 11-6 in conference play. The team’s next home game is Thursday April 18 versus Mt. San Jacinto with a start time of 2 p.m.