“It’s going to be a magical season, just you wait,” said head coach Nick Fuscardo. This was after the Hornet season opener 1-0 win over Palomar College.
Fuscardo has not been shy to share his thoughts on this year’s Hornets, and his team’s performance has allowed that. The Hornets went 2-1 over the break in conference play and haven’t lost a season series with any team thus far in the season.
Fullerton’s success hasn’t gone unnoticed, currently the Hornets are ranked No. 1 in the California Community College Baseball Coaches Association.
The Hornets constantly find ways to win, be it with pitching and great defense to overpowering teams at the plate in a shoot out.
“You gotta be able to win anyway you can, you gotta win the close one, the blowouts, when we have leads, and gotta comeback,” Fuscardo said.
Fullerton has six comeback victories and three walk-offs to their name on the season. Their most spectacular was a conference game against Golden West College, when the Hornets dug themselves out of a 9-2 deficit to take the game 11-10 in extra innings. Just two games later they took down rival Santa Ana College with four runs in the bottom of the 9th inning to claim the series.
“I know its a cliche to say this team has no quit in them, but we don’t only say it, we believe it and we’ve been able to prove that,” Fuscardo said.
The Hornets have leaders to turn to both on the mound and at the plate.
When it comes to the mound, the Hornets look to Randell Ortiz to get things started. Last season’s closer has taken to his new starting role with a 4-1 record and a team leading 37 strikeouts.
“I honestly believe we have the guys to make this season a great one,” Ortiz said.
In the bullpen the Hornets have a 1-2 punch in sophomores Nick Vega and Luis Corral. Vega has appeared in 12 games holding a 3-0 record and a 1.53 ERA to go along with 18 strikeouts. Corral has appeared in 11 games with a 2-0 record, one save, 12 strikeouts and h
asn’t given up a earned run all season.
With pitching like that you might get the impression the Hornets don’t have the bats to back that up, but you would be wrong. The Hornets have scored 186 runs and have a .332 team batting average. They have also taken a liking to the long ball hitting 19 home runs.
The Hornets are lead by Shane Carrier who has a .442 batting average, eight home runs, 36 RBIs, and 42 hits. Carrier is second in home runs and RBIs amongst all Community College players in the state. Leading the state in RBIs is Carrier’s Hornet teammate Austin O’Banion with 37 RBIs.
Along with Carrier and O’Banion, David Miranda has 26 RBIs of his own to give the Hornets the top three RBI getters in the OEC. The Hornets have seven players batting over .300 and have their leadoff hitters stealing 20 bases combined.
“As a team we always try to help out the next guy telling them what to expect from the pitcher so they get a read on him before their at-bat,” Miranda said.
It is not very hard to see why the Hornets are having the season they are. The Hornets are a long way from winning anything yet. They still have five conference series to compete in, not to mention the CCCBCA has three OEC teams at the top of the rankings.
Fullerton College (18-3, 6-0) start a 3-game series with two time defending state champions Orange Coast College Tuesday on the road at 2 p.m
. Fullerton will host OCC March 31 at 2 p.m. then finish the series on the road April 2 at noon.