RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- The Sacramento State baseball team defeated UC Riverside for the first time in five tries this season, taking a 12-6 decision at the Riverside Sports Complex on Saturday.
The win improved the Hornets to 21-30. The Highlanders dropped to 17-30.
Senior Aurelio Jackson led the Hornet's 19-hit attack with four hits in five at bats. Joe Evans and Chris Kinsey each had three hits on the afternoon.
UCR starter Julio Fernandez (5-5) surrendered 11 hits and seven earned runs in five innings of work. Sacramento State starter Mike Miranda (8-4) got the win, scattering 11 hits and surrendering three runs in seven innings of work.
The Hornets scored in the top of the first as leadoff hitter Jackson and Bobby Ciani both singled to center field. Carlos Morales hit a sacrifice fly to score Jackson and give them a 1-0 lead.
UCR took the lead in the bottom of the second as Brandon Smith led off with a walk and Adam Seuss followed with a single. Scott Powis forced Seuss, but Smith came home with the first run of the inning. Moments later Mike Tomarelli hammered a single to left for a RBI and gave the Highlanders a 2-1 lead.
Sacramento State took the lead in the third as Jackson walked, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by catcher Jimmy Anderson. Ciani's sacrifice fly scored Jackson to tie the game at 2-2. But the Hornets were still not done, as Morales reached second on a questionable error call on a lyball to left field that Mike Tomarelli initially broke in on before sprinting back and getting a glove on it, only to have it come out of his glove and land on the warning track. Daryl Grant followed with a single to plate Morales, and moments later Evans hammered his 13th homer of the year to give the Hornets a 5-2 lead. Riverside scored a single run in the bottom of the fifth as Brandon Smith singled home Jimmy Anderson to cut the lead to 5-3.
But Sacramento blew the game open with three runs in the top of the sixth and two runs in tboth the seventh and eighth innings. Ciani drove home a pair of runs to chase Fernandez, and Morales singled home Jackson off of reliever Brian Hoff for an 8-3 Hornet lead.
Kinsey struck again in the seventh with a two run homer off of Hoff to make the score 10-3, and added a pair of runs in the eighth on an RBI double by Evans and a RBI single by Mario Celillo to make the margin 12-3.
UCR scored three times in the bottom of the ninth, with two of the runs coming on Jason Collette's first homer of the year, a pinch-hit two run shot off Casey Fuller. One bright spot was the performance of Brian Kaye, who struck out four of the six batters he faced in the eighth and ninth innings.
The two teams will decide the three-game series on Sunday at 1 p.m.