The baseball program at Saddleback is having another banner offseason as three more players have committed to 4-year programs in the past two weeks. Darren Coombs, Lars Liguori and Riley Pitts have all made decisions, running the Gaucho commit list to nine.
Coombs signed to play at Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas. He played in 83 games in two seasons for the Gauchos, batting .269 for his career and finishing a perfect 10-for-10 in stolen bases. Abilene Christian is an NCAA DII program, playing in the Lone Star Conference. The Wildcats finished the 2010 season at 50-15 overall, winning the conference title.
Liguori committed to Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He played both as a pitcher and fielder in his two seasons at Saddleback, finishing 7-5 on the hill with a 4.55 ERA in 97 innings of work. Liguori also batted .300 at the plate in 2010 in 50 at-bats. Oral Roberts is a DI baseball program playing in the Summit League. The Golden Eagles finished the season 36-27, winning its 13th straight Summit League Tournament title and making it to the Norman Regional of the NCAA Tournament.
Pitts will continue his baseball career at California Baptist University in Riverside, California. He was a freshman for the Gauchos in 2010, playing in 21 games during the season with an impressive .955 fielding percentage. Cal Baptist is an NAIA affiliated program playing in the Golden State Athletic Conference. The Lancers finished the 2010 season 49-15 overall, making it to the NAIA World Series.
The three latest commitments brings the Saddleback total to nine for the season.
Darren Coombs, IF, Abilene Christian
Lars Liguori, P/OF, Oral Roberts
Riley Pitts, OF, Cal Baptist
Brett Vertigan, OF, UC Santa Barbara
Vince Gonzalez, IF, UC Riverside
Tyler Krobetzky, C, UC San Diego
Dalton Sype, IF, Liberty
Cody Lewis, P, Lewis & Clark State
Tucker Albers, OF, BYU
The baseball team has had a successful transfer rate for a number of years and this season is no different for the Gauchos. Saddleback’s commitments to four-year universities is up to six in 2010 as the baseball office announced its transfer list earlier in the week.
With the season just coming to a close in late April, six Gauchos have either signed letters of intent or given verbal commitments to four-year programs. Brett Vertigan, Vince Gonzalez, Tyler Krobetzky and Dalton Sype have all signed on the dotted line with Tucker Albers and Cody Lewis giving verbal commitments.
Vertigan signed to play at UC Santa Barbara after being named to the All-Orange Empire Conference First Team as an outfielder, batting .421 with a .964 fielding percentage.He led Saddleback in eight offensive categories and was fourth in the conference in hitting among players with 100 or more at-bats.
Gonzalez will continue his career at UC Riverside after signing an LOI with the Highlanders. He was a Second Team All-Orange Empire Conference selection as a designated hitter after batting .346 in 36 games.
Krobetzky was an early commit to UC San Diego after finishing second on the team with a .391 batting average.
Sype will continue his career at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, after a stellar two-year stint at Saddleback. He was a two-time Second Team All-Orange Empire Conference selection and batted .340 with a .939 fielding percentage in 2010.
Lewis is currently listed as a verbal commitment but is in the process of signing a letter of intent to Lewis & Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho. Lewis finished 5-3 on the season after transferring into the program from the University of Arizona.
Albers has given a verbal commitment to Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, for the 2011 season. He transferred into the program from El Paso Community College during the offseason.
Brett Vertigan, OF, UC Santa Barbara
Vince Gonzalez, IF, UC Riverside
Tyler Krobetzky, C, UC San Diego
Dalton Sype, IF, Liberty
Cody Lewis, P, Lewis & Clark State
Tucker Albers, OF, BYU
The Saddleback baseball season came to a close last week with a win over Golden West College but the good news kept on coming this week when four Gauchos were named to the All-Orange Empire Conference team. Brett Vertigan, Lars Liguori, Dalton Sype and Vince Gonzalez were all recognized over the weekend with all conference status.
Vertigan was named to the first team all conference while Liguori, Sypre and Gonzalez were named to the second team.
Vertigan was named to the team as an outfielder after batting .421 with a .964 fielding percentage. The sophomore lefty from Rancho Alamitos High School led Saddleback in eight offensive categories and was fourth in the conference in hitting among players with 100 or more at-bats.
Liguori was named to the second team as a starting pitcher after finishing 6-5 with a 4.60 ERA. The sophomore lefty is from Desert Mountain High School in Arizona and led the Gauchos in both innings pitched (92) and strikeouts (60).
Sype was named to the team for the second straight season as an infielder after batting .340 with a .939 fielding percentage. The sophomore from Laguna Beach High School led Saddleback with 30 RBI despite only playing in 24 games, finishing third on the team with three home runs.
Gonzalez was named to the team as a designated hitter after batting .346 in 36 games. The sophomore from Mission Viejo High School led Saddleback with four home runs and 30 RBI after transferring to Saddleback from the University of Indiana.
Saddleback pounded out 20 hits in a 14-6 victory over Cypress on Tuesday afternoon, with Dylan Christensen and Billy Sanders accounting for nearly one-half of the team's hits.
Christensen was 5-for-6 on the afternoon and drove in three runs while Sanders was 4-for-5 at the plate and scored three times as the Gauchos outhit Cypress, 20-14, proving once again that this year's squad is a happy "road" team.
Pitcher Cody Lewis picked up the victory on the mound, making it into the sixth inning giving up 12 hits and six runs. But the offense had already built a 9-6 lead
by that point and reliever Jordan Helmkamp wrapped up the sixth inning and then pitched the seventh and eighth before Bobby Castellano came in to close out the game with a perfect ninth inning.
It was the second time this season that Saddleback had beaten Cypress on the Chargers' home turf. The Gauchos are 5-4 in conference road games, compared to 3-7 at home.
Saddleback will travel to Golden West on Thursday and then will conclude the season at home on Friday, hosting Golden West at 2:00 p.m.
The Saddleback Gaucho baseball program was well represented on Monday as three former Gaucho players made opening day rosters. Nick Punto, Rob Johnson and Kanekoa Texeira were all a part of major league clubs to start the 2010 season.
Punto (left) and Johnson (right) are old hat to the major leagues by now, as Punto is starting his 10th season at the major league level and Johnson his fourth. For Texeira (bottom left), however, it is his first start at the major league level after being drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 22nd round of the 2006 MLB Draft.
Punto was the starting third baseman for the Minnesota Twins last night when they played locally against the Angels. Johnson started at catcher for the Seattle Mariners against the Oakland A's, hitting a home run. Texeira also plays for the Mariners as a relief pitcher, but did not see live action on Monday evening.
Saddleback split a pair of games against Riverside Community College this week, with neither team able to win on its home turf. Saddleback posted a 4-3 victory during a 13-inning marathon on Tuesday, but then returned home on Thursday to drop an 11-6 decision to the Tigers.
Saddleback's victory at Riverside was the longest game of the season for the Gauchos. Trailing 1-0, the Gauchos were able to get an unearned run in the top of the eighth to knot the score. Each team scored once in the 11th inning and Saddleback added the go-ahead run in the 13th as right fielder Dylan Christensen (pictured) doubled down the left field line and then scored on another double down the left field line by third baseman Dalton Sype. The Gauchos got a second run when Riverside bobbled a pop up, allowing Sype to score. The Gauchos would need that extra run as Riverside scored one run on a hit batsman and an RBI-double. However, the Tigers would strand the tying run at third.
In Thursday's game at Saddleback, Riverside scored once in the top of the first but Saddleback answered with two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Riverside added two more in the third inning on three singles and posted
four runs in the sixth inning on four singles, a walk, and an error to break open an 8-3 lead and added two more runs in the seventh on a home run, single, and double.
Saddleback would answer with a rally in the eighth inning on a single, a walk, and Riley Pitts' key two-run triple followed by an RBI-single from Brett Vertigan to make the score 10-6. But that's as close as the Gauchos would get. Vertigan had three hits for the Gauchos with Pitts and Brian Carcerano each adding two hits to account for most of Saddleback's 12 hits. Riverside collected 17 hits and both teams stranded 10 runners.
The Gauchos (11-11, 4-7 in OEC) will play four non-conference games on the road before returning to Orange Empire Conference play at home on Thursday, April 8, when they host Irvine Valley College at 2:00 p.m.
Saddleback scored three runs in the top of the fourth and three more in the top of the sixth to help the Gauchos to a 9-7 victory over Irvine Valley on Saturday, giving Saddleback 8-6 overall, 1-2 in OEC) its first conference victory.
Dalton Sype was 4-for-4 with four RBI and Brian Carcerano, Chris Mata and Darren Coombs each had two hits to pace the offensive attack for the Gauchos. Pitcher Lars Liguori (4-1) earned the victory on the mound while freshman hurler Matt Munson earned his first save of the season.
Irvine Valley scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth to get to within 9-7 and put two runners on base in the bottom of the ninth, but Munson got IVC catcher Drew Williams to hit into a double play to end the game.
Irvine Valley out-hit Saddleback, 16-14. But IVC pitchers walked seven Saddleback players and hit two others.
Saddleback suffered a 2-1 setback in 10 innings at San Diego Mesa on Tuesday, giving the Olympians their first victory in nine tries this season.
San Diego Mesa pushed across one run in the fifth inning, but Saddleback was able to tie the score in the eighth inning on a solo home run by Eric Ehlow. It was one of only seven hits by the Gauchos on the afternoon. Saddleback left 12 runners on base just one day after stranding 10 runners in a loss against Palomar.
Closer Dylan Christensen absorbed the loss on the mound when San Diego Mesa strung together a single, two walks, and another single in the bottom of the 10th inning for the winning run.
(pictured) had two hits for the Gauchos (6-3), which saw nine pitchers take the mound for the Olympians (1-8).
For the second time this season Saddleback has been edged out by the Palomar Comets in a non-conference baseball game as the Gauchos fell 4-1 to the visitors from the south on Monday afternoon.
When Saddleback hosted Palomar in the season-opener, the Gauchos pitching was on track but the hitting never materialized in a 3-1 setback. On Monday, Saddleback outhit Palomar 10-6, but untimely walks and balks allowed Palomar to score in the sixth inning and the Comets held on for the win.
Lars Liguori (2-1) went seven innings and allowed just two hits, but took the loss after walking three batters with two outs and then balking in the first run of the game in the top of the sixth.
Saddleback's hitting improved as the Gauchos accounted for 10 hits. Dylan Christensen, Dalton Sype, Eric Ehlow, and Tanner Gore each had two hits apiece. But the Gauchos couldn't get a timely hit when it was desperately needed. The Gauchos had bases loaded and one out in the second inning, runners at first and second with one out in the third inning, two runners on and two outs in the sixth, and two runners on with one out in the ninth but failed to plate any runs in those innings, stranding 10 runners during the game.
Palomar (3-3) has accounted for both of Saddleback's losses this season. The Gauchos (6-2) will try to get back on track on Tuesday at San Diego Mesa.
Eric Ehlow had three hits and five runs batted in while Darren Coombs added three hits and four runs batted in as the Gauchos (4-1) posted a 14-2 victory over the visiting Cerritos Falcons on Friday at Doug Fritz Field.
Ehlow's grand slam in the bottom of the eighth inning was the final blow as Saddleback posted six runs in the inning to deny the Falcons much of a chance at any type of comeback. The Gauchos amassed 16 hits, including nine extra-base hits, as Coombs ended up with a pair of doubles and Brett Vertigan had a triple and a double. Sean Parvin added three singles.
Vertigan led off the bottom of the first inning with a triple and scored on a ground out by Coombs to give Saddleback an early lead. Parvin followed with a single, advanced to third on a hit batsman and a walk, then scored on Elliott Martin's ground out for a 2-0 lead. With Saddleback leading 3-1 in the fifth inning, Cerritos thought it had tied after getting a single, a run-scoring double, then a single to get runners to first and third with one out. But a short pop fly to shallow center field was caught by Saddleback shortstop Coombs and thrown home. Although the ball arrived two steps late, an appeal to third base that the runner left early was accepted and the Gauchos were out of the inning with a 3-2 lead. Saddleback would add a run in the bottom half of the inning as Vertigan doubled to center field and Coombs singled him home, while Cerritos would not score again in the game.
Cerritos had 12 hits of its own in the contest, but nine of those hits were singles.
Saddleback starting pitcher Lars Liguori scattered seven hits and struck out six through five innings of work and the Gaucho bullpen added four innings of shutout relief.
Friday night's rain has caused Saturday's baseball doubleheader against Santa Barbara City College to be postponed for one day. The game(s) will be played on Sunday (Feb. 7) starting at 2:00 p.m. on Saddleback's field.
Saddleback dropped the baseball season-opener 3-1 to visiting Palomar on Wednesday night, stranding eight runners on base and wasting a solid outing by pitcher Cody Lewis.
Lewis (Dana Hills HS, pictured), a transfer from the University of Arizona, struck out seven batters through the first four innings and had the Comets struggling at the plate early. But a hit batsman and three singles in the fifth inning led to two Palomar runs and a 3-1 lead for the Comets.
Saddleback had opportunities early, loading the bases with no outs in the first inning but only scoring one run on a sacrifice fly by Eric Ehlow (Dana Hills HS) before hitting into a double-play to end the inning. That would be the only run scored on the night for the Gauchos despite getting two runners on base with two outs in the second inning, two runners on base with no outs in the seventh inning, runners on second and third with no outs in the eighth inning, and a one-out single in the ninth inning.
Dylan Christensen (JSerra HS) had two hits, including a double, and Lewis finished five innings with eight strikeouts, didn't walk a batter, but gave up all three runs to take the loss on the mound. Saddleback will play Santa Barbara City College in a doubleheader on Saturday starting at 1:00 p.m.
The California Community College Baseball Coaches Association released its preseason rankings and the Gauchos are rated No. 13 in Southern California to start the season. Saddleback has reason to be optimistic given some key elements returning, but with four Orange Empire programs ranked in front of them to start the season, they know they have plenty of work to do.
The Gauchos will open the season at home on Wednesday against Palomar College with the first pitch scheduled for 2:00 PM. Palomar should prove to be a solid early test as the Comets are rated No. 4 in the preseason poll. Saddleback and Palomar played once in 2009, with the Comets winning 2-0 on February 3, the very same day they play one another this season.
Saddleback has a young but talented roster, with 23 freshmen battling 11 sophomores for playing time. The Gauchos have a ton of talent returning in the infield where All-Orange Empire Conference third baseman Dalton Sype (.315 BA) along with second baseman Sean Parvin (.382), shortstop Chris Mata (.353 BA) and catcher Tyler Krobetzky (.324) should provide a lot of experience around the diamond. Outfielder Brett Vertigan led the Gauchos in hits (64), doubles (14) and stolen bases (12) in 2009 and welcomes a solid supporting cast around him in the outfield, as Saddleback looks to compete for an Orange empire Conference title.
In addition to the No. 13 ranking in the CCCBCA Poll, the Gauchos also received votes in the American Baseball Coaches Association Poll, just missing out on the top-25 in the Western United States.
The Saddleback baseball program had a banner week of players committing to 4-year universities and the number rose to 13 for the year when the coaches announced on Thursday that sophomore pitcher Max Whieldon has committed to Seattle University. Whieldon caps off a tremendous week for the Gauchos, who saw four players commit over the past five days.
Whieldon pitched in eight games for Saddleback in 2009, finishing with a 3.65 ERA for the season, holding opposing batters to a .229 average. He was a product of Trabuco Hills High School, where he finished 3-0 with a 1.90 ERA as a senior.
Whieldon joins freshman Blaine Jones in committing to Seattle, which will start baseball in 2010.
The following is a list of Saddleback baseball commitments for 2009:
Bobby Brown (UT), Abilene Christian University
Tyler Gilder (P), Montana State University Billings
Zac Johnston (P), San Diego State University
Blaine Jones (P), Seattle University
Rich Kemp (P), California State University, East Bay
Josh Leite (OF), Azusa Pacific University
Jeff Lucero (IF), University of Nevada
Jeff Montenegro (OF), California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (academics)
Joe Richardson (P), George Washington University
Zack Richmond (P), Colorado State University-Pueblo
Robby Ross (P), Point Loma Nazarene University
Max Whieldon (P), Seattle University
Trevor Whyte (1B), University of California, Santa Barbara
2009 News Archives