Despite their best efforts, the Hornets fell short to the Dons by only one run. The team is (2-8) overall in the Orange Empire Conference while Santa Ana is (4-6) overall.
Defensively the Hornets opened the game with a rocky start but still kept the Dons at bay and began the game scoreless.
The game heated up in the bottom of the first when sophomore outfielder Joey Parente hit a groundball to short-stop which led to a run batted in (RBI). Parente’s hit then led freshman outfielder Thomas Delgadillo home taking the lead 1-0.
Dons freshman infielder Bryan Leef hit an RBI fly ball to center field in the top of the third, when freshman designated hitter Nathan Flores hit out to centerfield which led Leef home, trailing the Hornets 1-1.
Tensions rose in the bottom of the third as the Hornets looked for the lead, bases were quickly loaded when sophomore outfielder Joey Parente was up to bat. Parente then hit out to center which led sophomore infielder Daniel Tuerffs home upping the score 2-1.
Top of the fourth, Dons first baseman Adam Cendejas singled that led to an RBI leading first baseman Justin Mellano home tying up the game 2-2.
“Molnar was on the mound, he didn’t really have his best stuff today, but he still competes and gives us the chance to win,” freshman second baseman Ryan Aguirre said.
The game remained unchanged until the top of the eighth when Leef doubled to left field that led freshman Brian Cromwell home which put another on the scoreboard for the Dons 3-2.
“I don’t think it was the team’s fault, we grinded every single inning. We competed as much as we could and kept it close the whole game. Just a tough ball game, tough loss,” freshman pitcher Garrett Molnar said.
As the ballgame was coming to an end, both teams kept working toward a win in the last two innings. Yet in the bottom of the eighth the Hornets came up to bat but fell short to bring runners home.
“We had bases loaded in the eighth and ninth and didn’t swing,” head coach Nick Fuscardo said.
The Dons managed to keep the top of ninth scoreless, allowing the Hornets to take back the lead.
Starting the bottom of the ninth with a glimmer of hope Tuerffs bunted his way to first base, due to pitcher not being able to grab the ball on time. Singling out to left field, Delgadillo allows Tuerffs to second.
Dons pitcher Nigel Ward, avoiding a run from the Hornets, intentionally walks Parente. Sophomore outfielder John Zanze hit a pop up, pitcher catches it adding another out. Freshman outfielder Chase Kerr up to bat with two outs, runners on second and third, but fails to bring them home.
“Thursday we are going down there, and we are going to battle down and we’ll do everything we can do to win the ballgame, but it’s up to the boys,” Fuscardo said.
Coach Fuscardo expressed his frustration on the Santa Ana coaching staff, who previously coached for the Hornets.
Catch the Hornets battle the Dons for the second time on Thursday March 30 at 2 p.m. at Santa Ana College.