Freshman Monique Rangel scores the Hornets second run in the bottom of the third inning of Monday's game as teammate, freshman Bella Morales looks on. Photo credit: Gerardo Chagolla #FC #FullColl #Fullerton #FullertonCollege #FullertonCA #NOCCCD #TheHornet #FullertonCollegeHornets #OnceAHornetAlwaysAHornet #WeAreTheHornet #onlinenews #article #journalism #photojournalism

Fullerton College’s starting pitcher freshman Olivia Nunez pitched a seven-inning, complete game against Santa Ana College, the leading team in their conference, allowing only five hits, one earned run, and five walks while earning the win Monday.

With only four games left until the OEC tournament, this win was particularly important to the Hornets as it improves their chances to compete in the conference playoffs.

The home game ended with a score of 4-3 as the Hornets pulled off the upset win.

Marian “Speedy” Mendoza, Fullerton’s co-head coach, praised Santa Ana as she described the opponent, referencing Santa Ana’s sophomore pitcher Emily Rosas as one of the Hornets’ potential obstacles.

The last time these two teams played, on March 23, the game ended by mercy rule with Santa Ana winning 12-0.

“This game will be determined by the preparation and growth that Fullerton College has made since they last took the field,” explained Coach Speedy.

Hornets first baseman Alyssa Haro reaches up to grab a high throw that barely pulls her off the bag allowing the Dons runner to be safe

Hornets first baseman Alyssa Haro reaches up to grab a high throw that barely pulls her off the bag allowing the Dons runner to be safe in Monday’s home game at Fullerton College. Photo credit: Gerardo Chagolla

In the first two innings, both teams looked for openings in the defense, using well-placed bunts and taking advantage of miscues in the infield to advance runners into scoring position.

Fullerton scored first, in the bottom of the first inning, when freshman infielder Alendy Aguilar scored on an errant throw to second base. Sophomore catcher Casey Dufrene advanced to third before Santa Ana was able to close out the inning.

Casey Dufrane (#25) swinging for left field

Hornets sophomore catcher, Casey Dufrane (#25) singles to left field in the first inning on Monday against Santa Ana. Photo credit: Ryan Billings

Fullerton added to their lead in the third inning on back-to-back RBI singles by sophomore shortstop Dee Ramirez and freshman third baseman Bella Morales.

The Hornets added a third run after another throwing error by the Dons that scored Ramirez from third base.

Freshman Monique Rangel scores the Hornets second run as teammate, freshman Bella Morales looks on

Freshman Monique Rangel scores the Hornets second run in the bottom of the third inning of Monday’s game as teammate, freshman Bella Morales looks on. Photo credit: Gerardo Chagolla

After Santa Ana scored their first run in the top of the fourth, they followed it up with another two runs in the top of the 5th inning. With a score of 4-3, Fullerton’s lead dwindled.

Hornets freshman pitcher Olivia Nunez pitches against a Dons batter in route to a complete game win.

Hornets, No. 4, freshman pitcher Olivia Nunez pitches against a Dons, No. 1, batter en route to a complete-game win at home. Photo credit: Gerardo Chagolla

Nunez (4-3) pitched all seven innings giving up five hits and one earned run.

“I trust my defense 100% and I think, as a pitcher, especially when people are making errors and balls are hit, you have to stay within yourself and focus on how hard you’ve worked and how hard your defense has worked,” said Nunez, describing how she faces teams like Santa Ana.

Nunez’s trust paid off when the Hornets slammed the door on the Dons comeback in the seventh inning.

Next up is a home game between Fullerton College (17-17-1,10-7) and Cypress College (25-10,13-4) on April 13 at 3:00 p.m.

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