The Hornets dropped their third straight conference game, 5-3, Saturday, in a back-and-forth battle against the Riverside Tigers.
Fullerton has now lost six of the last seven, and is losing ground in the race for the Orange Empire Conference title.
Josh Bornstein started on the mound and pitched five innings for the Hornets. He gave up one run on four hits in a solid outing.
“Our starting pitching has been good all year,” said head coach Nick Fuscardo. “I thought Bornstein pitched well today.”
He gave up his only run in the third on a base hit by RCC shortstop, Nick King.
For the Tigers, Bryan Conant pitched the first seven innings, giving up three runs and seven strikeouts. He gave up his first run in the fifth, when Christian Prado crossed the plate after a single by left fielder, Vince Vinegas.
King broke the 1-1 tie after driving in another run in the seventh inning off Hornets reliever, Jake Lyons.
Fullerton answered back and took their first lead of the game on a two-run homerun from center-fielder, Dakota Wix. He homered over the left field ivy, bringing home Prado.
With a 3-2 lead going into the eighth inning, the Hornets started the inning with Nico Casteneda on the mound. After getting the first two batters out, outfielder Cade Egri singled and stole second base, representing the tying run. Austin Monte singled him home and tied the game back up before the Hornets got out of the inning.
Fullerton could not respond against left-handed reliever Austin Sodder, sending the game to the ninth inning even at 3.
In the top of the ninth, the Tigers got runners on base with two straight bunts, both for singles. With no outs, runners on first and second, catcher Garrett Dean laid down the third straight bunt, this one a sacrifice bunt to move the runners into scoring position.
Infielder Paul Martinez, grounded out to the shortstop, but the run crossed the plate and the Tigers recaptured their lead. Sodders capped off the final run of the game with a base hit, scoring the runner from third and extending their lead to what ended up being the final score, 5-3.
“Its always a competitive battle against them, its the way its been for the last 20 years,” said Tigers head coach Dennis Rogers.
The Hornets are now (8-8) in conference play, and (18-11) overall, while the Tigers move ahead of them at (9-7) in conference play.
After their third straight loss Fuscardo said, “We have to learn how to play fundamental baseball.”
The Hornets will try to get back in the win column when they face the Tigers for the third time on Tuesday in Riverside, with the series split at one game a piece.