A few critical mistakes from The Hornets and stout defense from the Riverside Tigers cost Fullerton a loss at home on March 14.
The first inning began scoreless in a battle between Fullerton pitcher Garrett Molnar and Riverside pitcher Blake Tuthill.
The two pitchers struck out batter after batter until freshman Ryan Aguirre singled to center field for Fullerton.
The short-lived momentum was stifled when The Tigers caught a fly-ball for an out, ending the first inning.
The sole scores of the game came at the top of the fifth inning when Molnar gave up two runs, both because of a missed catch and an overthrow to the catcher at home base.
“We pitched extremely well, even though Molnar gave up two runs that were both unearned because we didn’t do a great job at being fundamentally sound. He deserved a lot better than him getting a loss, that’s twice that’s happened to him,” head coach Nick Fuscardo said of Molnar’s unfortunate turn of luck.
The Hornets subbed in Jordan Wisner as pitcher to mend the wound left by The Tigers.
“Wisner came out of the bullpen and did exactly what we wanted him to do,” Fuscardo continued. “He was very quality for us today.”
Wisner played his part, allowing only two hits and no runs in the final four innings he played.
However, The Tigers defense remained strong.
The Hornets came alive in the bottom of the ninth inning when Aguirre hit another single, taking first base and resuscitating the nearly-dead Fullerton crowd. Sophomore outfielder John Zanze carried the momentum with a hit and pinch hitter Andrew Aguilar managed to advance to second on an error, sending Zanze to third.
However, the momentum was quickly snuffed when shortstop Andrew Aguilar fouled out, ending the game in a 2-0 victory for The Tigers.
“We battled throughout the whole game and it came down to the end. We couldn’t pull it off, but we put in a good effort and a good fight against Riverside, hopefully we can get back at it on Thursday,” Wisner said of his team’s performance.
”[Our mentality] was to execute what we had planned. We went over a couple things about making sure we don’t leave anything on the field and making sure we execute everything. I feel like we did a pretty good job at that, we just fell kind of short,” said Wisner.
The Hornets face The Tigers again at Riverside on March 16 and at home on March 18 at noon.
“They got a good club and they’ll be tough on Thursday. We’ve got to better. We have to execute and be productive at bat and throw the ball like we did today. We’ve got to hit the clutch, that’s what our expectations are,” Fuscardo said.
The Hornets now stand at 11-9, but the season is far from over.
“We’ve got to continue to work and hard and keep battling,” said Wisner. “We still have a lot of games ahead of us, we just have to keep moving forward.”
Catch the Hornets play the Tigers for the second time at 2:00 p.m. on March 16 at Riverside College.