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Community College Baseball: Breaks, Hornets top OCC

Pirates' three errors lead to six unearned runs as Fullerton increases lead atop OEC.

April 10, 2013|By Barry Faulkner
(KEVIN CHANG / Daily…)

COSTA MESA — Sometimes destiny dwells in the other dugout.

Visiting Fullerton College made a case for the favor of the baseball gods on Tuesday, cashing in six unearned runs and several rally-killing defensive plays to come away with an 8-7 Orange Empire Conference triumph over Orange Coast.

The victory solidifies the Hornets' hold on first place in the conference and improves Southern California's No. 1-ranked team to 22-7, 12-2 in conference. It was the 11th straight conference triumph for Fullerton, which has won 13 of its last 14 games and now has a four-game lead with seven conference games remaining in its quest for its first conference crown since 1983. It has been 21 seasons, in fact, since the Hornets, who were 6-15 in conference a year ago, last made the playoffs.

"We lost a ball in the sun [a double that fell near the center fielder that plated two to cap a seven-run second inning] and that happens," said OCC Coach John Altobelli, whose Pirates, ranked No. 2 in SoCal, are 20-9, 8-6. "We stung a couple of balls and [the Hornets] are making diving plays out there to save runs. You've got to give them credit. When teams win championships, sometimes you do things and you get some of that mojo luck on your side. And you can kind of see it hovering over their dugout right now."

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The Hornets' good fortune included a dropped foul pop-up for an error by OCC catcher Tucker Chadd that one pitch later turned into a walk to extend the second inning.

A throwing error by OCC third baseman Manny Argomaniz led to the winning run in the eighth inning, after OCC had rallied to pull even, 7-7.

Another indication that fate was smiling on the visitors, was a ground-ball single up the middle that led to the OCC middle infielders colliding with one another as they gave pursuit.

And there were the aforementioned defensive gems, including a diving stab of a line drive by Fullerton second baseman Nick Gotta to end the OCC fourth inning, leaving a runner stranded at third base.

With two on and two out in the OCC fifth, shortstop Jose Rojas ranged to his right to snare a line drive off the bat of designated hitter Cristian Salina, who had already doubled twice.

And Gotta retreated into shallow center to make a difficult over-the-shoulder catch of a bloop off the bat of first baseman Danny Jiminez for the second out in the ninth.

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