The Hornets won their third game in a row, 7 – 6 against the Palomar Comets, on Saturday afternoon at home with an offensive rally in the fifth inning. The Hornets kept the pressure on Comets pitchers who walked in the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth inning.
The Comets took an early 2 – 0 lead in the top of the first inning with a two-RBI double down the left-field line from freshman, Brady LaVoie.
The first half of the game wasn’t the offensive extravaganza that the final score alludes to. Comets sophomore starting pitcher, Gavin Kinney held the Hornets scoreless until the fifth inning having two 1-2-3 innings, four strikeouts and one pick off.
Kinney’s first batter faced in the top of the fifth was an easy out; Hornets Nolan Ewens grounded out to the Comets sophomore first baseman, Evan Ianniciello. The rest of the inning would prove to be too challenging for him.
After Kinney walked two Hornets batters with one out, Comets Head Coach Ben Adams brought in freshman reliever, Jacob Cosner, to finish the inning. Instead of getting the final two outs, Cosner was taken out of the game after hitting Hornets freshman, Dean Drake, loading the bases.
Comets freshman reliever, Cade Swenson gave up a two-RBI double to left field off Hornets freshman, Elias Rios, putting the Hornets on the board for the first time that day, 2 – 2.
Following the double was a sacrifice fly to center field by Hornets freshman, Brock Denbo, that allowed Drake to tag up and score from third base giving the Hornets a 3 – 2 lead.
The Comets defensive mistakes wouldn’t end there; Swenson hit Hornets freshman, Ryan Lamastra, and gave up a two-RBI single up the middle to Hornets sophomore, Tony Accordino, scoring Lamastra and Rios, extending the lead 5 – 2 by the end of the fifth inning.
The Comets quickly answered back in the top of the sixth inning with 3 runs as a result of a two RBI single from LaVoie and an RBI single from freshman, Kevin Michaels. The Comets had tied the score 5 – 5 going into the bottom of the fifth inning.
The Hornets bounced back in the bottom of the sixth with an RBI double hit by Drake over the head of Comets sophomore right fielder, Noah Hemphill that bounced of the fence which allowed Hornets freshman Brian Landon to score from first base giving Fullerton back the lead at 6 – 5. Hemphill relayed the ball to the infield where Comets sophomore shortstop, Kellen McCoy threw out Drake who tried to advance on the throw from Hemphill.
The Comets pitching staff showed more struggles in the bottom of the eighth inning when sophomore reliever, Alex Blazyk hit the first batter he faced and walked the next batter. Coach Adams brought in sophomore reliever Trevor Riley who managed to strike the next two batters out but ended up walking in a run which extended the Hornets’ lead 7 – 5.
The Hornets weren’t without their fair share of pitching mistakes. Freshman, Joel Martinez gave three singles to Comets batters which allowed them to shorten the lead 7 – 6. Hornets freshman closer, Steven Loeara, was able to finish the inning earning his first save of the season and gave Martinez his first win of the season.
“I think it was a pretty competitive game,” stated Coach Adams. “I thought both sides kind of went back and forth. It was a battle of the bullpens. Both teams competed well.”
The fifth inning was when both teams decided to increase the intensity of play after the Hornets offense worked past a 2 – 0 deficit. Both teams took advantage of critical defensive mistakes throughout the game which resulted in the high score.
“They gave us some extra opportunities and we got a clutch knock,” stated Hornets head Coach Chad Baum. “When teams give you free bases, you got to take advantage. That’s been our pitfall so far this season; not taking advantage of the free bases.”
Throughout the game, Accordino scooped some difficult throws that came from his fellow infielders and managed to assist his teammates by getting crucial outs which prevented more Comets batter from reaching first base safely.
“I just stayed low to the ground,” said Accordino. “I put in a lot of work with the coaches at practice. We prepare for that, so in-game time it should be easy.”
After their third win in a row, the Hornets overall record is now at 4 -5 and have yet to play a conference rival.
The Hornets will next play at Moorpark College in Moorpark, Calif. against the Raiders at 2 p.m.