Fullerton’s freshman pitcher Jessica Lopez pitched her first ever perfect game in 5 innings of play during the Hornets 10-0 mercy victory over Orange Coast Pirates Wednesday afternoon.
“It felt really good to throw a perfect game. That was my first perfect game ever, I’ve had no-hitters but this was my first perfect game,” Lopez said.
Lopez had herself 7 strikeouts and gave up zero runs, hits, and walks. She faced a total of 15 batters for the game to complete her perfect game.
For the first Pirate batter, Lopez struck out Pirates shortstop Janae Gomez looking and set the tone for what would be her historic game in a Hornet uniform.
Lopez had a least one strikeout in every inning she pitched for the game and had 5 strikeouts in the first 3 innings.
Through the dominant pitching of Lopez, the Hornets offense finally came through for her and exploded in the third inning. The Hornets bats scored 9 runs on 9 hits and two passed balls made by the Pirates catcher in the bottom of the third inning.
Hornets freshman infielder Sarah Rengifo and sophomore outfielder Anabel Mendez both scored the first two runs of the game with RBI singles during the offensive onslaught of an inning.
Later on in the inning, Hornets freshman outfielder Desiree Guzman, sophomore catcher Veronica Garza, and sophomore designated hitter, Lulu Vasquez, each had 2 RBIs to add on to their lead and make the score 9-0.
Although Garza was the leadoff hitter and first out in the bottom of the third inning, the Hornets batted around the lineup in the inning to give Garza another opportunity at-bat to redeem herself. She was able to deliver in her second at-bat of the inning for Fullerton by hitting a 2 RBIs single.
“I think we did really good working together and putting up all our runs. I think our offense game helps and encourages the pitchers to do better because they are more comfortable on the mound with such a big lead,” Garza explained.
“It felt so good catching for Jess. I’m so proud of her and how far she’s come since fall,” Garza added,
In the following inning at bat for the Hornets, Rengifo hit a leadoff triple and would score on a passed ball to push the Hornets lead to 10-0.
Entering the top of the fifth inning with the perfect game still in hand, Lopez did not let up a single bit despite having a 10 run lead. She got Pirate catcher Madison Taylor to pop out to shortstop for the first out. In the second at-bat for the Pirates, Pirate third baseman Brooklyn Pack struck out looking for Lopez’s seventh strikeout of the game.
Lopez would single-handedly deliver her own perfect game for the last out when she got outfielder Joanna Michaels to hit a groundball towards her.
“I realized I was about to have a perfect game when it came down to the last 2 outs. I had a full count on one girl and took a deep breath and got a strikeout then I fielded the last out and realized what I accomplished,” Lopez reflected.
“My mindset for each batter was to have a strong attack with every pitch. I was attacking them both outside and inside and I just wanted to keep them off the bases,” Lopez added.
As a result of Lopez’s perfect game pitched and an explosion of offense in both the third and fourth innings, the Hornets took a 10-0 mercy victory to push their win total to (24-4,11-3).
Fullerton will now carry their 11 game winning streak and go on the road to play against Riverside on Friday, Apr. 5 at 2 pm.