SAN MARCOS, CA. (2/28/2020) ---- Freshman centerfielder Ryenne Stehly singled with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning for her fourth hit of the game and came around to score the winning run when a single to center by sophomore catcher Kendall Kates was misplayed as the Palomar College softball team outlasted Southwestern, 3-2, in a Pacific Coast Athletic Conference matchup.
The victory was the second in as many conference games for the Comets, who improved to 12-2 overall with their fifth straight win after overcoming an early 2-0 deficit.
"We needed one of these games like this," Palomar head coach Lacey Craft.said. "We haven't had to fight like that for a lot of our wins so far. It's good for our freshmen to know what conference softball is all about."
Southwestern, which fell to 1-1 in PCAC play and 8-6 overall, threatened in the top of the first inning with a pair of base hits, but sophomore third baseman Shea Lane made two strong plays to throw out a pair of Jaguars batters and freshman pitcher Alyssa Domingo induced an infield pop-up for the third out.
The visitors took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning on a two-out throwing error on an attempted play at third base which led to two unearned runs scoring. Palomar responded with a run in the bottom of the second when freshman left fielder Leatumalama Unutoa reached base on a two-out infield error and came around to score ahead of singles by Lane and Stehly.
Stehly also figured in the Comets' second run of the game in the fourth inning when she singled to center, advanced on an outfield error and scored the tying run on a one-out RBI single to left by Kates.
Palomar had the potential winning run at second base with one out in the seventh inning after sophomore first baseman Rylee Penrod hit a leadoff single to left and pinch-runner Taylor Friend was sacrificed to second by freshman designated player Jaiden Kent. Two flyouts to leftfield ended the threat.
The Jaguars put a runner at second base with one out in the top of the eighth after Rebecca Romero drew a leadoff walk and was sacrificed to second. But Palomar sophomore pitcher Cat Aguilar got a strikeout and a groundout to Lane at third to end the inning.
The Comets then won it in the bottom of the eighth to give the pitching victory to Aguilar, who relieved Domingo in the fourth inning. Aguilar (8-0) pitched five shutout innings, allowing two hits and one walk with two strikeouts.
Stehly finished with four hits in four at-bats to lead an 11-hit attack by the Comets. Sophomore right fielder Samantha Renteria added three hits while Kates was 2-for-3 at the plate and was twice hit by a pitch.
Palomar will be on the road to Mt. San Antonio College for a pair of nonconference games on Saturday, Feb. 29, against defending state champion Mt. SAC at noon and Santiago Canyon at 2 p.m. The Comets return to PCAC action on Wednesday, March 4, at San Diego Mesa.