Hornets sting Dons with late runs

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BASEBALL: SAC vs Fullerton College.
GAME DATE: March-16-2013.

Fullerton College shortstop Jose Rojas was hitless until the top of the seventh inning Saturday, when he lined the game-winning RBI single to center in the Dons 5-4 loss to visiting Fullerton College.

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“I wanted to make good contact with the ball,” Rojas said. “I stayed back and gave it a nice easy swing.”

The Dons led by three runs entering the seventh inning, but starting pitcher Richard Diaz loaded the bases before Head Coach Don Sneddon pulled him for lefty freshman Steven Perkins.

“I over think sometimes, rather than throwing strikes to see how far they can hit it,” said Diaz, who threw six and one-third innings, surrendering four runs on five hits while walking five and striking out six.

Perkins took the loss.

Fullerton scored its first run on sophomore Erik Lewis’s sacrifice fly. Designated hitter Troy Mulcahey stepped to the plate with runners on the corners. Mulcahey smashed a fastball to the right centerfield fence, scoring two runs to tie the game, 4-4.

“I saw a two-seam fastball down and went with it,” Mulcahey said. “The lefty came in more than the righty, and that made it easier to spot the fastball.”

Rojas’ line drive RBI single to centerfield scored the fourth run of the seventh.

All four of the Dons’ runs came at the expense of the Hornets’ sophomore left-hander Jeff Curran.

Dons’ catcher Jesus Saldana scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the fifth on a throwing error. Following a walk to the catcher, shortstop Derek Meddings laced a single to right field. The slow-footed Saldana rounded second and rumbled for third. Hornets right fielder Uriel Salinas threw to third as Meddings advanced to second. Lewis’ throw to catch Meddings flew past second baseman Nick Gotta, scoring Saldana.

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The Dons added three more runs in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI double by first baseman Tyler Madrid and a two-run single from centerfielder Ryan Aguilar.

Fullerton relievers Jacob Miller and Sean Michel shut the Dons down for the last three and 2/3 innings, allowing two hits combined.

“Our bullpen didn’t let them score any runs,” Fullerton College Head Coach Nick Fuscardo said.

In the bottom of the seventh, after the first two batters reached base, freshman Joshua Vargas popped up a sacrifice bunt attempt for the first out of the inning. With two outs, Dons cleanup hitter Madrid stepped in the batter’s box. Miller balked the runners to second and third but escaped the threat when he got Madrid swinging.

“That is what happens when things aren’t going well,” Head Coach Don Sneddon said. “Right now we are struggling.”

The Dons have lost three consecutive Orange Empire Conference games, including back-to-back on Don Sneddon Field, and currently are tied with Golden West College for sixth in OEC standings, with a 3-5 conference record.

The Dons (14-6 Overall, 3-5 OEC) play the Hornets again Tuesday, this time at Fullerton. First pitch is at 2 p.m.


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