The Hornets pounced on the San Diego College Olympians in Friday’s afternoon mercy of 9 – 1 after five innings. Hornets freshman starting pitcher, Hannah Pionke, earned her first college career win as a Hornet after pitching two innings only allowing one hit, getting one strikeout and not allowing any walks.
The Hornets had some special guests in the crowd: President of Fullerton College Dr. Greg Schulz and former Strength and Conditioning Coach Robert Miranda. The Hornets honored Dr. Schulz by giving him the honor of throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before the game started.
The Hornets batters stung early in the bottom of the first inning scoring six runs.
Hornets sophomore first baseman, Khloe Lilavois belted a two-run home run over the leftfield wall giving the Hornets an early 2 – 0 lead.
Hornets sophomore second baseman, Sarah Rengifo, added to the score with an RBI single to right field scoring freshman catcher, Celeste Borza extending the Hornet lead to 3 – 0.
Sophomore centerfielder, Clarissa Hernandez, belched a two-RBI double over the head of Olympians sophomore centerfielder, Kaleigh Lane, scoring Hornets baserunners, Rengifo and freshman designated player, Haylee Enriquez increasing the lead to 5 – 0.
With all increasing pressure on the Olympians defense each Hornets at-bat, Olympians Head Coach Jaclyn Guidi changed pitchers relieving her freshman starter, Arianna Izaguirre, and bringing in sophomore reliever, Abigail Sebert, to get the final two outs.
The final Hornets run in the first inning came when Hornets sophomore third baseman, Natalie Gonzalez, grounded out to the Olympians sophomore second baseman, Kassandra Solis – Correlas, allowing Hernandez to score from third base finalizing the lead at 6 – 0.
The Olympians eventually struck back at the top of the third inning, because of a catching error made by Hornets’ first baseman, Lilavois, after she couldn’t hold onto the ball thrown to her by Gonzalez at third base. The Olympians batter, Solis – Correlas, was able to run around the bases and score the only Olympian run of the game shortening the Hornets’ lead to 6 – 1.
Gonzalez, after her throw to Lilavois, fell onto the ground in pain grasping her ankle.
“It was an off-balance throw and we think she landed on it wrong,” explained Hornets Assistant Coach Elexa Rangel. “She said she stepped on something, but I think it she landed on her one foot, [thus spraining her ankle].”
After being carried off the field by two teammates, freshman Charie Gonzalez took Natalie’s place at third base for the rest of the game.
Hornets sophomore reliever, Jessica Lopez, who had come into the game by the start of the third inning, managed to get the final strikeout.
Lopez, who only pitched two innings, had five strikeouts in total and gave up no walks.
The last three Hornets runs came in the bottom of the third inning. Freshman right fielder, Madison Ferguson, belted an RBI double to centerfield scoring Enriquez from third base widening the scoring gap to 7 – 1.
Shortly after that, freshman shortstop, Danielle Ramirez, slapped a two-RBI double to deep left-center field bringing in Ferguson and Lilavois finalizing the score at 9 – 1.
After Hornets freshman closing pitcher, Nicole Gonzalez, shutdown the Olympians in the top of the fifth inning, the mercy rule went into effect, thus ending the game.
Coach Guidi was disappointed in the performance of her Olympians after coming into the game with an overall record of 7 – 3 and then dropping the game to the Hornets, thus making their overall record 7 – 4.
“This is the college level,” stated Guidi. “It’s not travel ball anymore. It’s not high school anymore. Some mistakes should never happen and if they happen, they shouldn’t happen twice.”
Lilavois, the heavy hitter of the game, was ecstatic about her first home run this season.
“I just thought I was seeing the ball pretty well today,” said Lilavois. “We were really dialed in this week in practice and we really improved [our performance].”
Former Coach Miranda, the strength and conditioning coach for the Hornets from 2009 – 2014 was pleased to see his team continuing on the legacy that he left.
“It’s good to see that they’ve continued to strive for excellence,” stated Miranda. “Working out in the weight room and continuing what I tried to teach them can keep them healthy, make them more athletic, perform better and keep them injury-free.”
The Hornets will next face the Antelope Valley Marauders at home on Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 2:30 p.m.