Sophomore pitcher Justin Zielinski continues to amaze for the Irvine Valley baseball team.
Zielinski threw his fourth complete game of the season and second shutout of the year in beating Fullerton, 4-0, in an Orange Empire Conference game at home on Thursday.
Fullerton came into the game leading the conference and ranked first in the South Region in the latest California Community College Baseball Coaches Association poll.
The right-hander, who threw 112 pitches, improved his record to 6-0 on the season. He gave up just six hits and one walk with three strikeouts.
It was the fourth straight game that Zielinski has gone nine innings and he has now pitched 18 scoreless innings against Fullerton. He ended up with a no decision after nine shutout innings against Fullerton on Feb. 26. The Hornets won that game, 2-0, in 12 innings.
With Thursday's stellar performance, Zielinski lowered his ERA to 0.69. In 65 innings, he has now allowed just six runs (five earned). Even more impressively, he has walked only three batters all season.
Zielinski helped Irvine Valley, which is ranked 13th in the South Region, lift its record to 13-9 overall and 5-4 in conference.
Fullerton's record slipped to 16-6 overall and 6-3 in conference. Fullerton dropped into a tie for first place in the conference standings with Orange Coast.
Irvine Valley is in a three-way tie for third place with Cypress and Saddleback.
Irvine Valley scored a run in the bottom of the second inning on two-base error and then an RBI single by freshman left fielder Clint Jack.
The Lasers added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth to take a 3-0 lead. Freshman second baseman Cory Mendoza led off with a double to left field and then later scored on an error.
Freshman designated hitter Robbie Espinosa drove in the other run in the inning with a single to left center.
Mendoza drove in IVC's final run in the bottom of the eighth, plating sophomore third baseman Adam Vargas.
Vargas also made a couple of really nice plays at third base to help keep Fullerton off the scoreboard.
And Zielinski did the rest for the Lasers.
Sophomore center fielder Brett Hamilton, Jack and Mendoza were each 2 for 4 with one RBI for IVC. Espinosa finished 1 for 4 with one RBI.
Irvine Valley out-hit Fullerton, 10-6, in the contest.
Gordon Cardenas took the loss for the Hornets. He went six innings and gave up three runs (one earned) on seven hits with two strikeouts.
Trent Hammond was 3 for 4 and Riley Roberts was 2 for 4 at the plate for Fullerton.
Irvine Valley next plays two conference games against Riverside.
The Lasers are at Riverside on Saturday at noon and then host Riverside next Tuesday at 2 p.m.