The Fullerton College baseball team saw their six-game winning streak come to an end at the hands of the Saddleback College Gauchos, 7-1, Saturday at home.
The six-game winning streak, all in conference play, saw the Hornets climb all the way up into the top spot of the Orange Empire Conference. After the loss, the Hornets now move into a tie with the Gauchos atop the standings.
The Hornets gave the start to Kyle Lazcano, who was the ace coming into the year, but his recent performance has seen his playing time deteriorate.
Lazcano lasted four innings, while giving up two earned runs, on three hits and three walks. He picked up the loss. With the loss, Lazcano drops to 1-2 with a 6.07 earned run average.
“Lazcano gave us a pretty solid game,” said Fullerton College manager, Nick Fuscardo. “We didn’t necessarily have him on a tight leash, but coming into the game, we knew that if he came out flat and couldn’t pick it up we may be pulling him pretty early.”
The FC bullpen came in and gave up five runs in only five innings of work. Daniel Tessone gave up two runs in 1.2 innings pitched and Nate Green gave up three runs in two innings pitched.
Parker Merrit pitched a third of an inning, and gave up two hits, and Axel Cruz pitched the final inning, only gave up one hit in a scoreless effort.
The Gauchos gave the start to Eric Pierce who looked nearly unhittable on the mound. He only gave up one run on five hits in seven innings, while striking out two batters. Pierce is now 2-0 on the year with a 2.10 ERA.
The pitching has been a big reason that the Gauchos are up in the first place spot in the OEC. Their team ERA now stands at only 1.91 during conference play.
“We knew coming in that this team could pitch,” said Fullerton College manager, Nick Fuscardo. “We knew that we were going to have to jump all over them early and try to put them in a bad spot. We were unable to do so, and they showed us just how good their staff can be.”
The Hornets only got seven hits in the whole game. Over the previous six-game winning streak, the Hornets got at least ten hits in every game.
Saddleback did not take long at all to get on the board. After walking in the top of the first inning, Slate Miller stole second base. Mitchell Holland then drove him in with a single between the shortstop and third baseman to give the Gauchos a 1-0 lead.
The Gauchos scored again in the top of the fifth on an RBI groundout by Miller. On the game, Miller was 0-3 with an RBI, a run and two stolen bases.
Fullerton finally got something going in the bottom of the fifth inning and looked like they were going to score for sure. They had the bases loaded and only one out. After a wild pitch by Pierce, Oscar Heredia took off from third base to try to score, but was thrown out at the plate. Rickey Perez struck out looking on the next pitch, and just like that, the inning was over.
Saddleback would add two more runs and take a 4-0 lead in the top of the sixth inning. After pinch-hitting for Brandon Cody, Alex King ripped a double off the top of the right field wall that scored Hunter Cullen and Casey Bennett easily.
The Hornets finally answered back with a run in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Nick Gotta got things started with a walk. Then, KC Huth, who has been the Hornets’ best hitter all year long, drove a triple into right field that scored Gotta. Huth added to his team leading RBI total and now has 20. His hit extended his hitting streak to nine games.
“I did not think that we came out with the level of intensity that we have been lately,” Huth said. “We came out kind of flat and couldn’t get the bats going..
FC was not able to get anything going after that, and the Gauchos added three more insurance runs in the eighth inning.
Tony Bone ripped and RBI double after pinch hitting for King, which scored Cullen. Cody Schmitz then drove him in. Dylan Diaz added one more with an RBI single.
The two teams, tied for first place, were in the middle of a rematch at the time of production. Check out hornet.fullcoll.edu for the results of that game.
“That game is really important,” Fuscardo said. “I thought that today’s game was really important too. We are more than half way through conference play now. Any conference game is important, especially against the team right behind you in the standings.”