Hornets pitching and stellar defense was the key to a shutout 5 – 0 victory against the Riverside City College Tigers Wednesday afternoon in a quick one and a half-hour game. Freshman starting pitcher, Haylee Enriquez kept the Tigers in check throughout the game.
“With our pitching staff, it doesn’t matter who’s out there; we all support each other,” insisted Enriquez. “This week we all worked on our change-ups. We’re always challenging each other in practice.”
As a result of the loss, the Tigers dropped their first conference game furthermore losing in shutout fashion for the first time in the 2020 season.
“We didn’t have that many hits,” stated Tigers Head Coach Michelle Daddona. “We only ended up with four hits in total. That’s really not enough.”
While Enriquez gets the win and the shutout, the main reason the Tigers were unable to touch home was due to some incredible defensive plays made by position players.
The last out in the top of the first inning was made by a diving catch from freshman third baseman, Charie Gonzalez.
There were two double plays made throughout the game. One particular play was made when Tigers freshman designated player, Annabelle Salas flew out to Hornets freshman right fielder, Madison Ferguson who threw out Tigers freshman base runner, Jazlyn Dean at first base after she forgot to tag up on the fly ball.
A crucial play was made when Hornets freshman second baseman, Melanie Medina made a diving stop off a ground ball hit in the hole by Tigers freshman second baseman, Elena Perez and flipped the ball to Hornets freshman shortstop, Danielle Ramirez, forcing advancing Tigers freshman baserunner, Leala Hernandez, out at second base.
Offensively, scraped together a couple runs in the second and fourth innings.
Sophomore center fielder, Clarissa Hernandez, drove in baserunners Gonzalez and Enriquez with a deep fly ball to left-center field putting the Hornets lead at 2 – 0 in the second inning.
The lead was increased to 4 – 0 in the fifth when Enriquez also whacked a deep line drive to right-center field scoring Gonzalez and Miranda Rooney.
An odd play at the end of the fifth inning extended the Hornets lead to 5 – 0 when sophomore first baseman, Khloe Lilavois, belted a sacrifice fly to shallow center field allowing Enriquez to tag up on third base and score. Medina, the base runner on second base, tagged and tried advancing to third base, but was caught in a pickle. She eventually was tagged as the final out by Tigers third baseman, Dean, as Medina dove for the bag.
Despite blanking the Tigers, there were some moments that put pressure on Enriquez and her defense; Tigers batters, freshman Hernandez and sophomore Mia Gomez both had two singles in the top of the third inning.
The Hornets came together and showed resilience in a not-so-easy shutout.
“I’m really proud of Haylee in the way she went out and performed today. I tell all my pitchers to be ready when their name is called,” stated Hornets Assistant Coach Brandon Maurer. “I just tell them to treat practice like it’s a game and do everything you can with intent and conviction.”
The Hornets will next face the San Diego Mesa College Olympians on Feb. 14, at 2 p.m. at home.