By CALIFORNIAN STAFF REPORTS
A solid freshman season paved the way for three Bakersfield College baseball players to sign early National Letters of Intents to play at Division I schools on Friday.
Outfielder Kyle Nixon signed with the University of San Francisco, infielder Rolando Martinez signed with Oral Roberts (Tulsa, Okla.), and Cole Hallum signed to play at Campbell University (Buies Creek, N.C.).
"I'm really excited and happy for them," BC coach Tim Painton said. "It's a great opportunity for them to keep playing, and at the Division I level."
Nixon, a Frontier graduate, received JC all-american consideration after batting a team-high .371 last season.
"Kyle is our best returning hitter," said Painton of Nixon, who has been sidelined recently with an elbow injury. "Hopefully he can replicate his freshman season. We just have to get him healthy and back on the field."
Martinez, a Ridgeview grad, was a first-team all-conference shortstop after batting .342 last year. His older brother Juan also played at Oral Roberts (2007-2009), earning all-american honors his senior year.
"Rolando has made some really good improvements from last year," said Painton, who plans to shift Martinez from shortstop to second base this year. "We expect him to be a leader at the top of our lineup."
Hallum, a Centennial grad, red-shirted after injuring his pitching arm as a freshman two years ago at Cal State Northridge.
He did not pitch last season for BC, but was a second-team all-WSC South pick as an outfielder, batting .301 with three home runs and 27 RBIs. Hallum will follow another former Centennial and BC standout, Elijah Trail, who is a senior at Campbell this year.
"We're planning on returning Cole to a two-way player this year, and that's how Campbell is planning to use him," said Painton of Hallum, who has reportedly hit 91-92 MPH on the radar gun. "We'd like to be able to use him at the back-end of our bullpen, but we may have use him as a starter, which would mean we'd lose his bat at least once a week."
CSUB men's soccer
Colorado Springs, Colo. -- San Jose State's Eric Mendez scored the only goal of the match in the 77th minute to lift the Spartans to an upset of No. 2 seed Cal State Bakersfield in the Western Athletic Conference tournament.
Mendez found the back of the net from 10 yards out after a scramble in front of the net. Manny Espinosa made seven saves in notching his third shutout of the season to eliminate the Roadrunners.
CSUB had several chances in the match, outshooting San Jose 19-15, but couldn't convert as their season comes to an end.
"It was a game of two contrasting styles and unfortunately the physical direct approach won tonight," said CSUB coach Simon Tobin in a news release. "Credit to San Jose as they fought very hard; once again we missed some easy chances that came back to haunt us."
The Roadrunners end the season 9-10-2 in their inaugural WAC season.
"We are a young team and have learned an awful lot this season," Tobin said. "I am really proud of this group and the future looks very bright."
BC men's basketball
MONTEREY -- Corey McDonald-Mitchell scored 18 points to lead Bakersfield College to a 63-62 non-conference victory over Monterey Peninsula College.
The Lobos had possession in the final 10 seconds, but a short jump shot missed and the ball went out of bounds as time expired, sealing the win for the Renegades (3-1). Monterey dropped to 2-3.
Lawrence Moore scored 15 points and Van Holloway added 13 for BC, which led for most of the game. The Renegades visit West Hills on Wednesday.
Edithza Urias led Bakersfield College with 14 kills and five blocks as the Renegades defeated Citrus College, 26-24, 25-13, 25-20 at the Gil Bishop Sports Center.
Kenadie Lee-McNeill finished with 39 assists and six digs for Bakersfield, while Maddie DeMarco added 21 digs.
Bakersfield (17-7, 10-1 Western State Conference South) will host College of the Canyons on Wednesday at 6 p.m. The winner will capture the WSC South title.
TAFT -- Tiffany Mapusaga finished with 15 kills and 15 digs, but Taft lost to Fresno City College (24-26, 25-22, 25-19, 25-16) at home in the final regular season match for both teams.
Haley Walrath added nine kills and three blocks for the Cougars.
Taft (17-8, 9-5 Central Valley Conference) finishes third in the CVC and will advance to the playoffs while Fresno City (21-4, 14-0) finished in the top spot.
Playoff seedings will be announced Nov. 24.
Nathan's Last Wish Toy Drive
The second toy drive to honor a late Bakersfield youth football player begins today.
The last wish of Nathan Garcia, who died of cancer at age 13 last December, was to organize a toy drive for sick and hospitalized children. The drive produced more than 4,000 toys before Nathan's death.
Nathan was a big USC fan and received visits and support from several Trojans football players, notably family friend and quarterback, Cody Kessler.
Now organizers of the Nathan Garcia Childhood Cancer Foundation are asking for donations again. You can drop off new, unwrapped toys between today and Nov. 30 at any of the following locations: any Bakersfield Jersey Mike's Subs location, any Terrio Physical Therapy location or the Scruffy To Fluffy Pet Spa at 10530 Rosedale Highway.
In addition, Bikersfield has organized a 10-mile tribute ride for Nathan. To register, go to Bikersfield, 2622 Fairhaven Drive, between 9 and 10:30 this morning. Registration is $20 and one toy.
The ride begins at 11 a.m. and goes to Greenlawn Cemetery. All vehicles are welcome. The ride ends with a meal and live music at Ethel's Old Corral Cafe.
For more information on the toy drive or the tribute ride, contact Jessica Garcia at (661) 809-4644 or firstname.lastname@example.org.