Falcons come back to edge Comets

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Jerald Johnston throws the final strike of the game to pick up his second save in as many games. Johnston struck out four Palomar batters in two innings pitched. Photo credit: Taylor Ogata

Taylor Ogata, Staff Writer

A four-run, four-hit eighth inning rally along with stellar pitching down the stretch was just what the doctor ordered for the Falcons as they came back from a 5-2 deficit going into the inning to defeat the Palomar Comets 6-5 at Palomar Ballpark.

Shortstop Daniel Lopez led the charge for Cerritos by going 2-for-4 with a solo home run in the sixth as well as a double to start the rally in the eighth.

The Falcons struck first in the second inning after the aforementioned Lopez was hit by a pitch, he was knocked in by Kevin Sainz.

However, the Comets put up three runs in the bottom of the third to take a 3-1 lead all the way up until the sixth inning.

In the top of the sixth on a 2-2 count, Lopez belted a fastball over the left field wall to get Cerritos back to within a run.

“I was just trying to hit it as hard as I could. I fouled off a lot of pitches, but I finally was able to win the battle,” Lopez said.

Lopez’s jack was the fourth homer of the season for the Falcons and the team’s second in as many games.

The bottom half of the sixth however, saw Palomar tack on two more runs to go back up by three.

In the top of the eighth, Lopez started the comeback by doubling to right field and knocking in Gary James.

He would then reach third on the throwing error by Palomar right fielder Mitchell Gallagher.

“I was trying to do the same thing I did on the at-bat where I homered. Just hit it hard, and get an RBI,” Lopez said.

Jerald Johnston earned his second save in as many games by entering the game in the bottom of the eighth and pitching two solid innings while striking out four Comet batters.

“I just stuck to my mechanics and threw hard. Also, [my teammates] played great defense behind me and that’s the biggest reason why we were able to hang on,” Johnston said.

Head coach Ken Gaylord was very pleased with his team’s performance.

“[My players] were a little intimidated at the start, but we stuck with the game plan and came back to win,” Gaylord said.

The victory moves Cerritos to 6-2 overall.

The Falcons will return home on Wednesday, Feb. 24 to face Golden West College.

First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.