The Hornets dropped their first Orange Empire Conference matchup against the Cypress College Chargers, 16 – 2. The Chargers overwhelmed the Hornets through a combination of accurate pitching, quick defense and preventing offensive surges from becoming rallies.
“We sucked today,” stated Hornets Head Coach Chad Baum. “They just weren’t thinking out there. We did everything wrong.”
To Coach Baum, taking over such a prestigious baseball program has always been his dream job, but the consistent losses make his job not the most rewarding.
Hornets starting sophomore pitcher, Taylor Pendley, in his four innings of work gave up 10 runs, eight of them being earned. Despite getting three strikeouts, Pendley gave up three home runs to Chargers hitters.
The first home run came in the top of the third inning off the bat of Spencer Servin. The three-run blast over the left-field fence added to the Chargers’ lead putting them 6 – 0 over the Hornets.
The next blow came from Hayden Winters as a two-run blast to left-center field gave the Chargers an insurmountable 9 – 0 lead.
The last Charger home run was by Mario Tostado to left field giving in the fourth inning advancing Cypress’ lead to 10 – 0.
In an attempt to chip away at the Chargers’ ever-increasing lead, a small offensive rally was surmounted in the bottom of the fourth inning. Hornets’ freshman catcher, Nolan Ewens knocked an RBI single to right field that allowed the baserunner, Brock Denbo, to score from second base putting the Hornets on the board at 10 – 1.
The Chargers continued to pummel the Hornets throughout the top of the fifth inning by taking advantage of three walks given by the Hornets’ bullpen. All walked Chargers batters were able to score from extra-base hits.
Throughout the entire fifth inning, the Hornets coaching staff swapped pitchers three times as they continued to give up six runs, furthering the Chargers lead to 16 – 1.
The last Hornet run came in the bottom of the seventh inning when Marco Malerba swatted an RBI triple to right field giving making the final score 16 – 2.
Despite the two instances, the Hornets made offensive surges, Malerba felt the team’s approach at the plate needed improvement.
“I feel like we struggled,” said Malerba. “I feel like we weren’t able to collectively and consistently put up good at-bats. So off the bench, I was just trying to stay ready and do my job when I got the call.”
Despite the Hornets’ inadequate pitching performance, their bullpen was able to keep the Chargers batters from scoring for the rest of the game after the consequential fifth inning.
Chargers Head Coach Anthony Hutting was pleased with the stellar performance by both his defense and offense in his first conference win of the season. Despite Baum dropping his first conference game as a manager, Hutting expressed his sentiment insisting that one win against the Hornets should not call for an underestimation of Baum’s leadership or the Hornets ability to fight back.
“We know that [Fullerton] will definitely be ready to play,” insisted Hutting. “I’ve known Coach Baum for a long time and I’ve played for him. I know what type of coach Chad is. He knows how to teach the game and what kind of impact he’ll make on this program.”
Game two of this three-game Orange Empire Conference series will be held at Cypress College on Thursday, Mar. 5 at 2 p.m. If the Hornets win their next game, their conference record will split at 1 – 1.
Cypress, with a 14 – 2 – 1 overall record will be an opponent not to take likely. The Hornets’ record after this loss now stands at 5 – 10 – 1.