The Fullerton College Hornets lost 11-10 in a hard-fought game to the Irvine Valley Lasers on Thursday.
Hornets starting pitcher Justin Schubert got off to a rocky start with some control issues early on, giving up a solo home run to Lasers first baseman Hank Schineller.
However, Schubert soon settled down. Through six innings, he showed great command of his pitches, striking out eight batters while only allowing two hits and two runs.
In the bottom of the second inning, Elias Rios started the Hornets scoring by driving in two runs with a single to left field that scored Sawyer Chesley and Ryan Lamastra.
The Hornets added another run in the bottom of the third when right fielder Matt Darr doubled down the third baseline.
Dominic Martinez knocked in Darr with an RBI single and then stole second base, causing Irvine Valley coach Kent Madole to go to his bullpen early for a pitching change from Lasers starter Nate Madole.
In the top of the fourth inning, Lasers outfielder Dante Faicchio singled and later scored on a fielder’s choice making it 3-2 Hornets after four innings.
Hornets second baseman Jimmy Blumberg and pinch hitter Dean Drake both walked to start the Hornets half of the sixth inning before Ryan Lamastra was able to lay down a bunt scoring Blumberg, as Lamastra beat the throw to reach first base safely.
Elias Rios then stepped to the plate with two runners on and launched a no-doubt three-run home run over the center-field wall.
Dominic Martinez drove in catcher Jacob Sharp with an RBI single to add to a big five-run sixth inning that put the Hornets up 8-2.
The top of the seventh inning got rough for Hornets starting pitcher Justin Schubert.
After a leadoff single, Schubert was able to strike out two batters before giving up another single followed by five softly hit bloop singles that scored two and left the bases loaded.
Lasers outfielder Bradley Wilkison then hit a bases-clearing double, tying the game.
That would be the end of Schubert’s game as reliever Bryce Barnett came out of the bullpen and struck out the final batter of the inning, but not before the damage was done and the game was tied.
After getting the leadoff batter to ground out in the eighth inning, Barnett gave up a double off the ivy wall in center field, followed by back-to-back RBI singles by the Lasers scoring three runs and taking the lead 11-8.
Hornets catcher Jacob Sharp hit a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth followed by Matt Darr and Jacob McClure singles before Dominic Martinez doubled scoring Darr and McClure and bringing the Hornets within one run.
After an Irvine Valley pitching change, Marco Malerba struck out looking and stranding runners on second and third.
The Hornets showed no signs of quitting as Elias Rios continued his big day singling to center field. Jack Janes followed up with a single. Jacob Sharp hit a line drive to Irvine Valley shortstop Shane Kary who was able to beat Rios back to second base ending the game on a double play.
Rios shined for the Hornets going 4 for 5 at the plate with one walk and five runs batted in.
“Thinking of my approach, taking deep breathes trying to keep my mind clear and see the ball… just trying to do my part,” attributed to success during the game, Rios said.
After the tough loss, Coach Baum told the team “we just have to be better,” Rios added.
Following today’s loss, the Hornets fell to 2-8 on the season. They will look to rebound on Friday on the road with a doubleheader against Irvine Valley at noon and 3 p.m. at OC Great Park Stadium.