Briefs: Pirates on rise

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The Orange Coast College football team (3-1), off to its best start since 2009, has jumped to the No. 8 ranking in Southern California, No. 17 in the state and No. 30 in one national poll.

Coach Mike Taylor's Pirates upset Palomar, then ranked No. 5 in Southern California and No. 13 in the state, 35-28, on Saturday in the Southern Conference opener at OCC.

The Pirates are ranked No. 30 in the nation by JCGridiron.com.

OCC plays Grossmont (3-1), ranked No. 5 in Southern California and No. 13 in the state, on Saturday at 1 p.m. in El Cajon.

— Barry Faulkner

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Lions' Licciardi honored

Vanguard freshman men's soccer goalie Luca Licciardi has been named Golden State Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week after shutting out Cal State San Marcos on Saturday.

Licciardi had two saves in a 1-0 nonconference overtime triumph and also allowed only one goal in the Lions' 1-0 nonconference loss to Lindsey Wilson, ranked No. 1 in the NAIA, on Sept. 14.

Vanguard entered Wednesday's GSAC-opening contest at Westmont with a 2-5-1 record.

— From staff reports

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Mikulak an innovator

The International Gymnastics Federation has approved naming a pommel horse skill after Corona del Mar High graduate Sam Mikulak.

Mikulak, a junior at the University of Michigan who represented the United States at the London Olympic Games, became the first gymnast to perform the "Mikulak" in an FIG sanctioned competition, during the men's qualification round in London.

The skill is a double-scissor with a hop from one end of the horse to the other. It begins with forward leg swings and a half turn of the body, but ends with backward leg swings.

"I just pushed an old skill to the limits and just made it more exciting and a little bit more interesting," Mikulak said in a statement. "Having that skill in the books forever is something that I can look back on and say that I made a difference in the world of gymnastics."

Mikulak is scheduled to open the NCAA season on Dec. 8.

— From staff reports

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OCC makes jump

The Orange Coast College women's volleyball team moved up five spots to the No. 2 ranking in the California Community College Women's Volleyball Coaches Assn. state poll released Monday.

Coach Chuck Cutenese's Pirates (5-0) swept then-No. 3-ranked Pasadena City College on Sept. 19.

Los Angeles Pierce (13-0) is ranked No. 1.

— From staff reports

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UCI schedule set

UC Irvine will open the 2013 baseball season on Feb. 15 against Baylor, the first of four teams that played in the NCAA postseason on a schedule that includes 12 of the Anteaters' first 13 games at home.

UCI, coming off a 31-25 season in which it did not make the 64-team NCAA Regional field for the first time in seven seasons, plays a three-game, season-opening series with Baylor.

UCLA, which played in the College World Series the last two seasons under former UCI coach John Savage, visits UCI on April 16 and plays host to Coach Mike Gillespie's 'Eaters on April 30.

San Diego, another NCAA Regional team in 2011, has home-and-home dates with UCI, which also faces 2011 Big West Conference champion Cal State Fullerton at home May 23-25.

After playing three with Baylor, UCI hosts Cal in a four-game series that includes a Feb. 23 doubleheader.

UCI visits Loyola Marymount on Feb. 26, before returning home for a four-game set with Portland (another Saturday doubleheader included) and a Tuesday clash with visiting Cal State Fullerton.

UCI's 34-game home schedule also includes Nebraska (March 15-18) and Hawaii (April 5-7), as well as Big West foes Cal State Northridge (April 12-14), UC Davis (April 26-28), Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (May 10-12) and Long Beach State (May 23-25).

UCI opens conference play with a three-game series at UC Riverside (March 28-30).

USC visits Anteater Ballpark on May 7 and plays host to the 'Eaters on April 2.

UCI returns 18 lettermen, led by first-team all-conference pitcher Andrew Thurman, who will be a junior.

— From staff reports

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