Bakersfield College baseball recognized two sophomores on Wednesday who have cemented their futures after BC.

Brycin Hernandez signed a National Letter of Intent to play Division I baseball at Cal State Bakersfield, and pitcher Taylor Burns signed with the University of Hawaii.

“It’s probably the most rewarding part of the job for me,” BC coach Tim Painton said. “We’ve been very fortunate, in 22 years have sent 200 kids on, so we’ll have a lot more in the spring, but we’re certainly excited about the opportunity that’s been provided for these young men.”

Burns is heading into his third year with the Renegades after redshirting his freshman season. His biggest gains have been made in the weight room, transforming his body and upping his fastball speed to 91 mph.

Hawaii has been Burns’ dream school since he was young, he said, though he isn’t sure why. He had no prior connection to the school.

“It fit perfectly,” said Burns, a Liberty High School graduate. “On my visit, I got along with the team, the coaches … can’t beat the 70-degree weather playing baseball.”

He's not concerned about moving far away because Hawaii plays in the Big West, which has several schools from the California State University and University of California systems within driving distance of Bakersfield.

Hernandez thought his career was over when he graduated from Stockdale High School.

With their futures planned, both players have turned their sights to the upcoming BC season.

“We’re here to work this year for BC,” Burns said. “We’re not worried about next year. We have a future set, but we want to work here. We want to win here.”

Men’s basketball to finally have home opener on Saturday

Seven games into the season, BC men’s basketball will finally hold its home opener when the Renegades host Cerro Coso at 6 p.m. on Saturday. It’s one of just six total home games for BC this season and its next one doesn’t come until Jan. 12.

The Renegades opened the season with two wins but then dropped three straight. BC currently sits at 3-3.

Sophomore Jamar Hammonds leads the team with 21.8 points per game and is shooting 44.8 percent. Freshman Shahadah Camp has been the sharp shooter for BC, knocking down 14 3s with a 45.2 percent conversion rate off the bench.

Cross country ready for state championships

Both BC cross country teams will be represented at the state championship meet in Fresno on Saturday. The men’s team will take part as well as two individual women — Lourdes Cruz and Gabriella Lugo.

“It’s been very successful,” coach Pam Kelley said of the season. “They’ve ran real well.”

Five of the seven runners representing the men’s team are freshmen. Cruz and Lugo are both freshmen, too. Kelley is hoping the men finish in the top-15 as a team.

“Anything is new to them and that’s kind of fun,” Kelley said. “... Really what we’re looking for is building for the future, too.”

One of the freshmen is Angelo Benitez, who led the men at the Southern California Regionals two weeks ago. He and freshmen Marcos Mulata and Harrison Wykoff have been neck-and-neck as BC’s top three.

Benitez said practices have been less intense leading up to the biggest race of the year in an effort to stay fresh. He’s hoping for a time under 22:30 and says he didn’t run well at this course earlier in the year because he was sick.

“We’ll make our mark and show them who we are,” Benitez said.

Volleyball to host playoff match

Bakersfield College volleyball was named a No. 6 seed in the Southern California Regional Championships and will host No. 11 El Camino on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the Gil Bishop Sports Center.

The seeding comes on the heels of BC’s second straight Western State Conference South championship, although this season they shared the title with College of the Canyons.

Tickets are available at the door: $12 for general admission; $8 for seniors, students, faculty, staff, and children under 12.

Jon Mettus can be reached at 661-395-7389. Follow him on Twitter at @jmettus

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