By Alex Olivares
The Dons defeated the Fullerton College Hornets 9-1 April 21 after a barrage of hits put the game out of reach in the first inning.
Two Hornets pitchers combined to bean three hitters, including two before the end of a five-walk first inning.
The last time Hornets starting pitcher Alyssa Felipe faced the Dons, she threw a shutout.
This time, she was chased out of the game without recording a single out, walking five consecutive batters while allowing two runs before getting the hook. She was charged with four earned runs.
“It’s unusual for her to hit three batters and walk the next couple,” said Fullerton Head Softball Coach Marian Mendoza. “I can’t even explain what happened.”
Dons’ Co-Head Coach Jessica Rapoza credited her team’s early lead to Felipe’s struggles.
“You can’t give away free things,” Rapoza said. “The pitcher that starts for them usually does really well, so maybe she just wasn’t feeling right.”
Felipe herself was unable to explain her trouble. “Honestly, I have no idea,” Felipe said, shaking her head. “I just don’t know.”
Hornets reliever Nicole Pratt allowed five runs, three earned, after inheriting a bases-loaded jam. In the second inning, she threw a wild pitch that struck the Dons designated hitter Karina Rosas.
Singles by second baseman Alyssa Iglesias and right fielder Paolena Comouche along with a double by first baseman Sabrina Perez drove in runs. The first inning ended 6-0.
“Everybody hit the ball on the ground,” said Dons center fielder Keila Tenorio, crediting the ground ball approach with creating havoc for the Hornets defenders.
Hornets designated hitter Bianca Espinoza launched a solo home run in the second inning.
Although batters continued to make contact, a strong in-field defense kept any Hornets runners from scoring.
“As long as they can keep the ball in the yard we have a really good chance of making an out,” Rapoza said.
By the fourth, the Dons managed to score two more runs after Perez singled-in Annie Dowling. Danielle Hernandez whipped a triple to bring home pinch runner Sarah McAndrew.
“That’s usually a really good team,” Rapoza said. “We just maybe caught them on an off day.”