The women’s softball team finds success against Gauchos the second time around, behind second consecutive complete game by starting pitcher Brigid Ruiz on Thursday.
The Lady Hornets avenged a previous loss from Saddleback by defeating them 5-3.
Fullerton jumped on the board right away. Catcher Anissa Loera doubled to left-center, scoring battery mate Ruiz and left fielder Shalynn Chapman, giving the Lady Hornets an early two run lead.
Ruiz (10-5) ranks second in wins in the Orange Empire Conference and now has eight complete games this season. It wasn’t looking great early on for Ruiz though.
The anchor of the pitching staff ran into a little trouble in the second inning when designated player Kylee Lologo singled in right fielder Caelan Smith. The next batter, right fielder Samantha Lima promptly singled to bring home Lologo. Add in a throwing error and the elusive bunt double by the next batter, center fielder Allie Potts, and it looked like the wheels might be coming off for Fullerton.
“I think that I was trying to go outside too much and he wasn’t calling it so much, so I had to come in and I didn’t have enough spin,” Ruiz said. “It was on me. My change up was a little bit flat, but it is something that I can change and I will fix it.”
Ruiz shook off the cobwebs and set down the next two batters to get out of the inning only down one run.
The Lady Hornets didn’t lose the momentum for very long. In the bottom of the second inning Ruiz came up with two runners on and laced a single up the middle, scoring right fielder Alexis Pintado to tie the game at two a piece.
It appeared Fullerton was on its way to adding more runs. However, Gauchos first baseman Adrienne Goodban made a brilliant grab on a line drive off the bat of third baseman Miranda Hernandez, doubling up the runner on first to end the inning.
Just two innings later the Lady Hornets got back to work. With the bases loaded, all runners advanced on a failed pickoff attempt by Gauchos when Lima threw the ball past third base and the Lady Hornets second baseman Andrea Enriquez came home.
After replacing starting pitcher Demerie Raymond, reliever Ankica Gogich immediately balked to bring home Ruiz and give FC a two run lead. Gogich eventually got a groundout to escape the inning down 5-3.
That was all the support Ruiz would need. After the rough start, she only allowed one hit and one runner past second base the remainder of the game.
The Lady Hornets are on a three game win streak and Ruiz feels they have turned the corner.
“We have been coming together not only this game, but in the games before too,” Ruiz said. “In the beginning we weren’t off to the greatest start, but now we are in the right direction.”
In addition to her solid pitching, Ruiz thinks she knows the reason for the turn around. “We are communicating a lot more out there, even on foul balls we are talking to each other.”
Fullerton will look to make it four when they take on Golden West Monday at Hornet Field. First pitch is at 3 p.m.
Anyone fans of the yellow and white uniforms might have to wait a while for the Hornets to change its colors.
“We are wearing our blues ’til we lose,” said Ruiz.