Austin O’Banion beat out a routine ground ball to the shortstop to avoid the third out in the 11th inning, allowing Joey Parente to come home from third base for the game deciding run.
Parente got into scoring position after he hit a leadoff single, stole a base and then tagged up to take third with two outs.
“[O’Banion] didn’t have his best day at the plate but to his credit, when his team needed him, he got the job done with grit running that hard 90 [feet] to win us the game,” said Fullerton College Head Coach Nick Fuscardo.
The play was seen differently from the Golden West dugout and Head Coach Bert Villarreal let the umpires hear about it as they left the field.
The Rustlers’ frustration stems from being swept by the Hornets, especially considering they dropped two games of the series after holding a large early leads.
Fullerton’s rally got a huge boost in the bottom of the 7th inning as they scored six runs to tie up the score 9-9.
The scoring started when Justin Row hit a 3-run home run over the left field, closing the deficit to three. The Hornets manufactured another run before David Miranda stepped up to the plate and hit the Hornets’ second home run of the inning.
Row finished the game with five RBIs, Miranda and O’Banion had three and two respectively.
“We’re playing pretty well right now but just got off to a slow start today on both sides of the ball,” O’Banion said. “We got a pretty good team so I think we’ll play better and be fine.”
The Hornets scored at least one run in six different innings and had at least one runner reach base in nine.
“The tone of our team is to never give up, we score in clusters, we hit in clusters, when we went down big we just wanted to get a couple here a couple there and that’s what we did, and the big six to tie,” Fuscardo said. “We gotta win all these kind of games, not all of them are going to be blowouts and it shows our toughness grinding out these tough ones.”
Reliever Nick Vega stepped up for the Hornets when his name was called to the mound. Vega shutout the Rustlers in his three innings pitched and was awarded the win, his second of the season.
Dillon Persinger led the Golden West offense with with two home runs and five RBIs.
Fullerton (13-2,3-0) look to continue the success against Santa Ana College (14-2, 2-1) for the next conference series. The Hornets are on the road Saturday March 12 at noon and again Thursday March 17 at 2 p.m. The Hornet will be at home Tuesday at 2 p.m.