Matt Comnos entering the game (Connor Hedges/Lariat)
The Saddleback Gauchos baseball team advanced to 3-0 with a commanding 15-6, 14-hit win over the Santa Barbara City College Vaqueros at Doug Fritz Field on Jan. 31. Gauchos make it the third straight game with more than twelve runs scored
Saddleback was down 4-1 going into the third-inning after starting pitcher Hunter Ash gave up two hits and four runs in two innings pitched. The Gauchos bats quickly answered as they scored six runs in the bottom of the third-inning to regain the lead and never looked back.
Left-Handed Pitcher Matt Comnos entered the game in relief in the top of the fourth- inning, quieting the Vaqueros in a lights out performance. Comnos struck out six batters, allowing zero hits and runs, picking up his first win of the season and the Gauchos third.
“Primarily a relief pitcher, my role on the team is to push out fires, where I come in to relieve the starting pitchers when they need it the most,” Comnos said. “I believe that we’re going to keep kicking ass moving forward after a very great start to the season.”
Starting Right Fielder, Izaiah Faz was the brightest star of the game where he reached base in all five plate appearances. Faz has been on fire in the first three games of the season, this time going 3-for-3 with two RBIs Friday. Faz knew that Santa Barbara was a great team and they were willing to put up a good fight every single inning.
“My personal goal this season is to continue to do my job on both sides of the ball. I need to continue to get base hits and put my team in the best position to win,” Faz said. “We are out here playing our game of baseball and we don’t care about anybody else’s game of baseball.”
Brad Hoiseth, Website Administrator and Sports Information Director for the Saddleback College Athletics Department shared his thoughts on the impressive performance. Hoiseth spends time in the press box of every home game making sure the box scores are accurate and also provides live updates and recaps of every win.
“What stood out with the Gauchos against Santa Barbara was their situational hitting. Although Saddleback only had two extra-base hits, the Gauchos still managed to generate 15 runs with timely hitting, base-running and patience at the plate with seven walks,” Hoiseth said.
Hoiseth’s pick for a player that’s due for a breakout season is Carson Matthews, who transferred into the program from BYU. Matthews is very solid defensively at shortstop and has a great pop in his bat.
Another player Hoiseth mentioned to watch is pitcher Matt Comnos, who could eventually work his way into the starting rotation. Comnos has been pitching out of the bullpen during the early part of the season, but after a solid start could be elevated to a starting role.
Once Orange Empire Conference play starts in March, it’s like a new season. The OEC is widely known as the top conference in the state, so pre-conference games are not always the best barometer for how conference play will go. Saddleback’s success in conference play is likely to come down to a handful of close games.
Saddleback plays Santa Barbara again Saturday in a double-header with the first game planned to start at 1 p.m. After Saturday, the Gauchos play seven straight games at home.