Briefs: Ex-Lion opens in show

Erik Komatsu, who played baseball at Vanguard University in 2006, opened the Major League Baseball season Wednesday as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals.

A rookie outfielder, Komatsu went 15 for 54 in 24 spring training games to earn a spot on the roster. He did not play in the Cardinals' 4-1 win over the Miami Marlins on Wednesday.

He saw very limited action in two previous spring trainings with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Komatsu left Vanguard after one season to play the next two years at Cal State Fullerton. He was chosen by the Brewers in the eighth round (the 248th player taken) in the 2008 Draft after hitting .348 with eight home runs and 58 runs batted in as a junior starter for the Titans.

Komatsu, who was drafted by the Yankees out of high school, hit .329 with eight homers, 33 RBIs and seven stolen bases in seven attempts as a Vanguard freshman. Of his 55 hits that season, 24 were for extra bases.

— Barry Faulkner


Lions hire SID

Vanguard University has hired Nicolette Kirkland as its director of sports media and promotions, the school announced Wednesday.

Kirkland is the first to occupy that position full-time at the NAIA school, which competes in the Golden State Athletic Conference.

Kirkland, who was captain of her women's basketball team at GSAC member Azusa Pacific, was the sports information director at Eastern Nazarene College, an NCAA Division III school in Quincy, Mass., in 2011-12.

She earned a master's degree from Idaho State University in 2010.

Kirkland will step in for Beth Renkoski, who has handled sports information duties in addition to her role as associate athletic director and softball coach for the past 16 seasons. Renkoski will remain at the school and handle the latter two responsibilities.

"[Renkoski] has gone above and beyond the call of duty in providing excellence in both programs," Vanguard Athletic Director Bob Wilson said. "We look forward to Nicolette joining our team and allowing Beth to be able to invest all of her energy into the softball program."

Kirkland's husband, Kody Kirkland, was a minor league infielder who spent time in the Tigers, Braves and Astros organizations from 2002 to 2010.

— From staff reports

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