The Pirates posted strong back-to-back scoring innings and struck first on a booming double to centerfield by sophomore Tommy Bell, he would later score on an error at shortstop. They wrapped up the third inning of scoring with a hard-hit single up the middle by Nick Grimes.
Struggles at the plate by the Hornets allowed the Pirates to quickly get back to the plate and put up another three score inning. The big play coming from freshman James McLellan on a double down the right field line before scoring again on another shot up the middle by sophomore Stefan Panayiotou.
Things did not get better for FC as the batting struggles continued against Pirate pitcher Dominic Purpura, who had a solid game tossing five strikeouts and giving up only three hits and zero earned runs in six innings pitched.
The Hornets started to step up their game with solid pitching in the form of Parker Merrit, Louis Corral, and Randall Ortiz to go along with a stern defense.
The game seemed to have been put out of reach when Orange Coast scored their last run in the eighth on a towering home run over the left-field fence by Tommy Bell, however the Hornets were not ready to call it quits.
Fullerton put their rally caps on in the bottom of the ninth proving it is truly not over until the fat lady sings.
The game seemed to be over for the Hornets after their first two batters to begin the ninth resulted in two quick outs. Then the tide turned when sophomore infielder Trent Hammond hit a shot to center for a single.
One batter hit by the pitch and one walk later and the bases are loaded for designated hitter Riley Roberts. Roberts took full advantage of his second at-bat with a huge shot to center field which cleared the bases and resulted in a double for the sophomore from Yorba Linda.
The momentum was truly in the Hornets favor as sophomore John Orlando hit a single up the middle advancing Roberts to third. The bats caught on fire for Fullerton as second baseman Laine Huffman hit a single to left scoring Roberts bringing the score to 7-4.
After a single by Justin Row squeaked by the shortstop, the bases were loaded for FC’s strongest batter right fielder Julio Rivera.
However, it would prove to be too little too late for the Hornets as Rivera went down swinging to end the game. This loss keeps them at the third spot in the conference standings behind Orange Coast and Cypress.
“We just didn’t come prepared today and they did. This was a huge game, every game from here on out is a huge game and we need to get back to playing Hornet baseball,” said Nick Fuscardo, Hornet’s head coach.
“We have been facing some great pitching these last few games, so we need a complete team effort and everyone needs to pitch in, there are eight conference games left and we need to make the most of it,” Fuscardo added.
The Hornets (17-9, 7-6) take a break from conference play and take on El Camino-Compton at home on Tuesday followed by another home game vs Taft College on Wednesday.