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The Hornet

The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Hornet pinch hitter delivers third straight win

Strong hitting from Fullerton College pushes the team past Mt. SAC.
Matthew Gonzalez
Hornets sophomore infielder Landon Runge springs into action to hit against Mt. SAC on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024.

The Hornets continued their ways of scoring double digit runs as they beat Mt. San Antonio (10-8) Thursday afternoon at Fullerton College. The win marks the Hornet’s third in a row.

In the top of the seventh inning, the error bug bit the Hornets again, as they allowed three unearned runs, starting with a high fly ball Mt. SAC first baseman Kaeden Moeller hit to shallow left center. Misplacement by sophomore shortstop Landon Runge caused the ball to fall and put Moeller on second base. He would then advance to third on a passed ball.

After a walk and stolen base from sophomore catcher Daniel Briones, a dropped fly ball by Fullerton sophomore left fielder Diego Franco allowed both Moeller and Briones to score. Mt. SAC sophomore left fielder Nick Mejia then gapped a double to right center field, which gave the Mounties the temporary 8-7 lead.

“We have to be better defensively,” said Hornets manager Chad Baum. “We have to want the ball and unfortunately we didn’t want the ball [today].”

Hornets sophomore infielder Ryan Kirk went 2-5 at home on Thursday against the Mounties. He scored a run and drove in another run in the win. (Matthew Gonzalez)

Freshman right fielder Dillon Anderson came up with a big swing in the bottom of the seventh inning as the Hornets were trailing 8-7. With sophomore center fielder Britton Beeson on first base, the young left handed hitter took a ball deep to the right field wall and sprinted off for extra bases.

Beeson, who also hit a solo homerun in the bottom of the fifth, scored the tying run and Anderson, using his speed, advanced to third.

Freshman second baseman Jacob Larson, who had three RBI’s on Thursday, remains one of Fullerton’s hottest hitters, as he raises his batting average to .364 on the season. (Matthew Gonzalez)

Baum then chose to pinch hit sophomore outfielder Rudy Gonzalez in place of Franco. Though the sophomore had been in a slump, Baum still had the confidence to call upon Gonzalez in a clutch spot to help his team win this game.

“Rudy is one of our starters and has been struggling a little bit, so it was time for him to shine, and he did a great job,” said Baum.

Gonzalez took the first pitch for a strike. At the next offering, he scorched a single through the right side of the infield, as the ball zipped past a diving Moeller. This brought Anderson in for the go-ahead run, putting the score back in favor of the Hornets, 9-8.

Gonzalez said Baum told him during batting practice to focus on line drives. Lo and behold, that is exactly how Gonzalez delivered.

“I wasn’t trying to be the hero,” said Gonzalez. “I know my opportunity will come.”

The last three wins have been thanks to the Hornets offensive rhythm. The Hornets have scored in the first three innings of the last three games. Their performance against the visiting Mounties was no different, as they scored four runs in the second inning to give the Hornets a comfortable lead for six innings.

“One of the recruiting things we talk about is you come here to develop to become a better baseball player and you don’t always see it right away,” said Baum. “But, we want our guys to develop and play on and get their college education.”

Hornets freshman outfielder Noah Rodriguez prepares to hit the ball against the Mounties on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024. (Matthew Gonzalez)

Freshman pitcher Andrew Caren came in relief for the second time this season in the seventh to get his first win of the season. Sophomore closer Ryan Franson entered the game in the ninth and secured his third save of the season. Baum said Franson will retain the role of being the closer after his solid one hit, one strike out showing.

Sophomore starting pitcher Ari Kligman received a no decision after throwing five and two-thirds innings, allowing five runs on nine hits, with two walks and striking out one Mountie.

“He [Kligman] did a good job. It’s only the second time he’s been on the pitching mound since he’s been coming back from some soreness,” said Baum. “He came in and did his job and that’s kind of what we preach is do your job and pass it off to the next guy.”

Beeson hit an RBI triple in the eighth inning to give the Hornets a two run lead. Beeson finished the day hitting 4-5, a double away from hitting for the cycle.

The Hornets will go on the road to face Long Beach City on Friday, Feb. 16 at 1 p.m.

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About the Contributors
Jamal A. Walker
Jamal A. Walker, Staff Reporter
Jamal Walker is a sophomore at Fullerton College in his first semester for The Hornet, writing for the Sports and Arts and Culture desks. Prior to studying at Fullerton College, Jamal served in the Army as a Public Affairs Specialist for four years and received an honorable discharge. He served in Colorado and South Korea and worked in three different newspapers. Jamal has been accepted to CSUs Long Beach, Northridge and Dominguez Hills. He hopes to graduate with his degree in journalism and get credentials to cover the Olympics in 2028 in Los Angeles. Outside of school, Jamal loves baseball and supports his hometown team, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Matthew Gonzalez
Matthew Gonzalez, Staff Photographer
Matthew Gonzalez is a third semester staff photographer for The Hornet. Aside from being a staff reporter, he is also into sports photography. Matthew's passion in sports comes from watching and covering football, soccer, and basketball. During his free time he enjoys working out or listening to music. He is a huge Taylor Swift lover. Matthew plans on transferring to Cal State Northridge next fall to get a bachelors degree in Journalism.  His end goal is to work for a newspaper company.

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