In the continuation of the away game from earlier in the season against Cypress, Fullerton lost 7-6 in the bottom of the 11th inning after giving up the game-winning sac fly for their “first” conference loss of the season.
Then in the second game, the Hornets made a late rally in the last two innings of the game, but it was not enough as the Chargers won 6-3.
“I feel like we did not match the energy that Cypress came out with. They started from the get-go with how they wanted to play this game and they controlled pretty much every aspect of the game. We got to do a better job at controlling our game,” Fullerton pitching coach Brandon Maurer stated.
Resuming the first game at the top of the ninth inning, the Hornets were at-bat first and had an early scoring opportunity. Freshman first baseman Khloe Lilavois hit a single, while sophomore pitcher Lulu Vazquez was walked.
However, all three outs in the inning resulted in pop-ups and left the runners stranded at first and second base.
Hornet freshman pitcher Jessica Lopez started out for the Hornets in the first game and pitched a total of 2.2 innings during the ninth, 10th, and 11th innings. For her first inning, Lopez had a strikeout, walk, and gave up no hits.
Still, Fullerton’s offense became nonexistent and helpless in supporting Lopez with runs to get the victory, as the first two batters would fly out to the outfield. Sophomore utility player Camille Greene strikeout after to end the top of the 10th inning.
Lopez found herself in trouble in the bottom of the 10th inning after she got opposing Cypress pitcher Janea Brannen to pop out for the first out. Right after the out, Lopez gave up a walk, bunt single, and another walk. This loaded the bases for Cypress with only one out in the inning.
With bases loaded, Lopez dug deep with no room for error and struck the next two Charger players to end the inning.
“I pitched pretty well today and had a lot of battles with the batters. The main thing I wanted to do was keep my team in both games,” Lopez stated.
Yet, the Hornet batters couldn’t carry the momentum heading into the 11th inning, as they failed to get a hit or player on base.
As a result, Lopez’s pitching couldn’t hold any longer and she immediately gave up a double to Cypress leadoff hitter Amanda Campos. From there, another bunt single was given to the Charger’s Infinity Laufou. The Hornets defense wasn’t prepared to make any plays or capture any more outs.
Cypress would not pass up another opportunity to score and end the game. This time the Chargers had runners on first and third base with zero outs. This was too big of an obstacle for Lopez to climb and she would give up the game-winning sac fly to Cypress outfielder Gabrielle Munoz to end the game at 7-6.
After a gut-wrenching defeat in the first game against Cypress, Fullerton’s defense came out playing sloppy for Hornet sophomore pitcher Lulu Vazquez.
Cypress’ leadoff hitter Amanda Campos would advance to second base to start the game off after hitting a single and an error thrown from sophomore center fielder Kaylee Williamson. Cypress would get another hit off Vazquez with a single and advance Campos to third base.
In trouble early, Vazquez was able to navigate the Hornets to a scoreless first inning with three straight outs after striking out Munoz and getting Brannen to foul out. Bojorquez would also fly out to center field for the third out.
Fullerton’s offense was able to get contact with the ball in the bottom of the first inning, but it only resulted in one hit from Hornet catcher Veronica Garza. The other Hornet batters all had fly balls and weren’t able to get on base.
The Chargers batters were found success in the top of the second inning as Charger Vanessa Ayala hit a leadoff single. After hitting a single, Ayala stole second base to put herself in scoring position. Vazquez would walk the next batter after struggling to find her command.
Once Madison Bogdanovich laid down the sacrifice bunt for Cypress to put runners on second and third base, Kimberly MacPherson drove in two runs with a single to center field. MacPherson advanced to second base on the throw home.
Later in the inning and two outs on the board, Laufou hit an RBI single to left field and MacPherson rounded third base to score giving Cypress a 3-0 lead. Vazquez regained control to end the inning with a strikeout.
However, Fullerton couldn’t respond back in the bottom of the second and was only limited to a single by Hornet sophomore Anabel Mendez.
In the following inning, the Chargers were able to double their lead and make the score 6-0 after a series of events that resulted in two costly errors for the Hornets.
The top of the third inning was all Cypress with an RBI double for Sandoval, RBI single for MacPherson, and an RBI single from Campos.
Two out of the three runs scored in the third inning went unearned for Vazquez due to an error made by Hornet third baseman Sarah Rengifo. Vazquez was able to finish off the inning by getting Laufou to ground out to shortstop.
Lopez was put into the game to start off the fourth inning and was lights out. Lopez kept the Hornets in the game as she did not give up a single run in her second outing for the day and had herself five strikeouts.
Despite being down 6-0, the Hornets were still actively engaged in the game with hopes of a comeback. Their offense finally clicked in the bottom of the sixth inning to begin their late rally.
“I think it showed a lot of heart on what we should be capable of doing at the beginning of the game and just carrying it on throughout the entire game,” Garza explained.
“Our pitchers pitched their hearts out. I think a lot of defensive errors is what killed us today,” Garza added.
With one out, Garza hit a double to center field. Williamson then followed with a single and caught the Charger’s defense off guard by sneaking her way to second. Vazquez who pitched earlier in the game came through for the Hornets with a double to left field driving in 2 RBIs to make it 6-2.
Lilavois added to the rally with a one-out RBI double but was left stranded on second base when Rengifo popped up to second base and Mendez struck out.
Lopez used the Hornets momentum from their late rally to strike out the side in the top of the seventh inning. This quickly gave the Hornets their last chance to push the game into extra innings again or possibly have a walk-off win.
“We did not give up. It’s good that we put some runs on the board and showed them we can still fight no matter what the score is,” Lopez added.
After Hornet freshman Natalie Gonzalez grounded out towards third base off a bunt to lead off the bottom of the seventh. Freshman Clarissa Hernandez advanced to first base with a walk and sophomore Sabrina Anguiano followed it up with a single up the middle to put Hernandez in scoring position.
Garza would advance both Hernandez and Anguiano to second and third base with her groundout hit to the second baseman. Williamson stepped up to the plate with two outs and two runners in scoring position.
The game would end on Williamson’s fly out to center field. Had Williamson got more barrel on the ball, the game might have been tied with a 3-run home run.
Looking to bounce back from their two defeats to Cypress, Fullerton (14-4, 5-3) will travel to Southwestern for a Saturday matchup on March 16 at 12 p.m.