The Hornets four game winning streak in conference play came to an end in a 7-1 loss to Orange Empire Conference first-place Santa Ana Dons.
Coming into the game, Fullerton had been playing great softball, winning their last five games, four of them being in conference play. Heading into the game, they were coming off possibly their most impressive outing of the season, a 13-1 beat-down over Orange Coast College.
“Our team chemistry has been great and we’ve been really good defensively,” said Marian Mendoza, Fullerton head coach.
The Hornets were hoping to carry their 13-run game into this match up, but had trouble swinging the bat early on.
Both teams had their first run cross the plate in the third inning, in a game that was dominated by the pitching duel. For the Hornets, it was no surprise that ace Brigid Ruiz took the mound. For the Dons, Victoria Franks paced the team by giving up only one run through the first four innings.
Santa Ana finally found their swing offensively in the fifth inning, after a throwing error to first base sparked a rally. Dons catcher, Annie Dowling, drove in a run on a sacrifice fly to right field to make the game 3-1.
Santa Ana was not done yet as they appeared to finally have rattled Ruiz. Ruiz walked the next batter before getting an out; then hit the next batter with a pitch to put runners on the corners. Ashley Huff, outfielder, drove in the runner on third with a base hit to right field and was thrown out at second base trying to extend the play.
After the three-run Dons inning, the Hornets were unable to respond at the plate. Franks had the upper hand on the Hornets offense, only giving up three hits the rest of the game.
“I just pounded the zone and let my defense do their job. My defense made great plays all game,” said Franks.
The Dons kept the momentum from the previous inning to tally three more runs on the board in the fifth, including a two run base hit to center with two outs to bust the game open 7-1.
No more runs were scored and the Dons went on to defeat the Hornets for the second time this season. The Hornets will have a short break from conference play to try and get their rhythm back on track before facing Cypress on March 31.
“We just need to move forward from here, we’ve been pretty successful out of conference and haven’t loss in tournament play,” Mendoza said.
The Hornets look to keep their nonconference
tournament play streak going, as they head to Santa Barbara City College for a