BASEBALL DROPS FIRST GAME OF SERIES TO FRESNO STATE, 15-7
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Josh Powers and Derrick Chung each had three hits to lead the Sacramento State offense, but the team could not overcome an early deficit in a 15-7 loss to defending national champion Fresno State on Thursday at Hornet Field.
The loss dropped the Hornets to 27-24 overall and 8-11 in Western Athletic Conference play. The Bulldogs moved to 25-27 overall and 9-12 in WAC action. The victory by Fresno State also means that the team that wins two of the final three games of the series will advance to the WAC Tournament while the other will not.
Following a scoreless first inning, the Bulldogs posted a 6-0 lead behind just three hits. Fresno State took advantage of a walk and three Sacramento State errors during the inning. The biggest blow came on a three-run home run by Alan Ahmady.
The Bulldogs stretched their lead to 8-0 in the third inning behind a solo two-out home run from Dusty Robinson and another unearned run on Sacramento State's fourth error in three innings.
The Hornets posted runs in the bottom of the third and fourth innings on a single from Powers and a bunt from Ivan Otsuka, respectively. However, Fresno State countered with two runs in both the fourth and fifth to lead 12-2 following four-and-a-half innings.
In the bottom of the fifth, Hunter Martinez began a four-run rally with a single to left. Powers was then hit by a pitch and moved to third on a double down the right field line by Tim Wheeler. Jeff Roth drove in the second run with a sac fly to left and Chung singled home Wheeler in the ensuing at-bat. The final run of the inning came on a double from Justin Lamb which plated Chung.
The Hornets had chances to pull closer but the Bulldogs were able to turn three double plays which all but sealed the contest.
Offensively, Sacramento State outhit the Fresno State (15-11). All nine Hornet starters collected at least one hit and four players had multiple hits. Powers' three-hit performance marked the eighth time this season he has reached that plateau. One of Powers' three hits was his 25th double of the season which pulls him within one of second place and two of first place in school single season history. Chung earned his fourth three-hit game, tying his career high.
On the mound, five Hornet pitchers combined for eight earned runs. Tommy Elrod, who threw the first four innings, took the loss and evened his record at 4-4. Senior Blake Crosby made his collegiate debut on the mound in the ninth inning. Crosby shifted to the mound after playing the first eight innings and first base and allowed one hit without a run while striking out one.
The top four hitters for Fresno State did most of the damage for the Bulldogs as the quartet combined for seven of the team's 11 hits. Matt Morse (3-2) earned the victory, scattering seven earned runs and 13 hits over seven innings.
The series continues on Friday at 3 p.m. at Hornet Field.