WALNUT, CA (2/29/2020) – Matching up against two of the top 10 softball teams in the state rankings, Palomar College split a pair of nonconference games at Mt. San Antonio College.
Facing defending two-time state champion and top-ranked Mt. San Antonio for the second time in two weeks, the Comets dropped a 3-2 decision to the Mounties after the hosts scored the tie-breaking run in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Palomar, ranked No. 6 in the most recent coaches' state poll, bounced back in the second game of the day to defeat No. 10 Santiago Canyon, 8-5, improving the Comets' record to 13-3 on the season. Mt. SAC won the nightcap against Santiago Canyon, 6-5, for the Mounties' 15th win against just one loss.
Palomar took an early 2-0 lead against Mt. SAC with a pair of unearned runs in the top of the first inning. Sophomore catcher Kendall Kates led off by reaching base on an infield error, and she advanced to third ahead of a one-out double by sophomore designated player Samantha Renteria. Both runners scored when a two-out fly ball by freshman shortstop Samarah Martinez was misplayed in left field for another error.
Mt. SAC tied the score in the bottom of the first with two runs on three hits off Palomar sophomore pitcher Catalina Aguilar. The score remained 2-2 until the sixth, when Mt. SAC third baseman Charleen Macias doubled to score pinch-runner Brianna Mills after second baseman Alexis Lemus doubled with two out.
Mt. SAC pitcher Alexia Silvas, who no-hit the Comets in a 4-0 Mounties win at Palomar on Feb. 14, retired 16 straight batters from the second through seventh innings until the Comets threatened in the bottom of the seventh after being down to their last out. Freshmen Raquel Moore and Jaiden Kent each hit two-out, pinch-hit singles, but Silvas collected her fifth strikeout of the game for the final out to finish off a three-hitter.
Aguilar (8-1) was dealt her first loss of the season after allowing three earned runs on seven hits and one walk with no strikeouts.
Palomar bounced back in the second game against Santiago Canyon, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning and retaining the lead throughout the contest, which featured a combined 27 hits by the two teams.
Kates was 4-for-4 at the plate from her leadoff spot, starting the game with a single to center and scoring along with Renteria on a three-run home run by sophomore first baseman Rylee Penrod.
The Hawks (12-5) closed the deficit with two runs in the third, but Palomar answered with one in the fourth when sophomore left fielder Leatumalama Unutoa hit a leadoff triple and scored as freshman center fielder Ryenne Stehly reached on an error at third base.
Kates clouted a two-run homer with two out in the sixth, scoring freshman second baseman Ayiana Hernandez, aboard on a fielder's choice after freshman Taylor Friend hit a pinch-hit single with one out. Palomar added two more in the seventh on a double by Moore, a single by Martinez and a two-run double by Unutoa.
Nine Palomar batters had at least one of the Comets' 14 hits, with Moore and Unutoa collecting two apiece.
Freshman pitcher Alyssa Domingo (5-2) pitched four innings for the win, allowing two runs on seven hits. Aguilar pitched three innings for the save, allowing three runs on six hits.
The Comets return to Pacific Coast Athletic Conference action with games on Wednesday, March 4, at San Diego Mesa (3 p.m.) and Friday, March 6, at home against Imperial Valley (1 p.m.).