BASEBALL BEGINS IMPORTANT SERIES WITH 11-0 WIN OVER NEW MEXICO STATE
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Sacramento State baseball team opened its most pivotal series of the year with an 11-0 win over New Mexico State, Thursday at Hornet Field. The Hornet offense pounded out 13 hits, including four home runs, and pitchers Alvaro Orozco and John Schlager combined for the team’s second shutout victory of the season.
The win improved Sacramento State to 14-32 overall and 8-14 in the Western Athletic Conference. More importantly, the team vaulted over NMSU into sixth place in the WAC standings with their third straight win — matching a season high. The top six teams in the conference will compete in the WAC Tournament later this month. The Aggies are now 21-26 overall and 6-13 in league games.
Sacramento State scored the game’s first run when Jeff Hannah grounded out to second to score Tim Wheeler from third. The Hornets then put on a power display in the third inning with back-to-back-to-back home runs. With two outs, David Flores drilled his fifth round-tripper off of the scoreboard in left-center field. Gabae Jacobo, who homered twice in the win over Pacific on Tuesday, followed with a towering blow off of the parking structure in left field for his team-leading 11th home run of the year. Wheeler completed the trifecta just hitting the ball over the outstretched arm of Joseph Scaperotta in right center for his fifth HR.
The three home runs in the inning tied team’s record for most home runs in a game this year. That record fell in the bottom of the fourth inning when Ryan Blair welcomed reliever Frankie Duran to the game with a leadoff home run to right center.
The lead proved to be plenty for Orozco, who improved to 5-4 on the year. The junior lasted seven innings and allowed just three hits during that time. The San Bruno, Calif., native left the game after the seventh having thrown 123 pitches. The combined shutout marks the second time that Orozco has helped blank the opposition this season. On March 24, he went the distance to shutout Stanford, 6-0.
The Hornets added runs in their final three at-bats. Patrick Cummins drove in Ryan Blair in the sixth and Travis Kirkman’s sacrifice fly plated Wheeler in the seventh to give the team an 8-0 lead. The final three runs came in the eighth inning. Gary Johnson opened with a double to left center. An infield single by Flores moved Johnson to third and Jacobo then reached on an error but picked up an RBI to score Johnson. After Montana Dye was hit by a pitch, Hannah singled in one run and Blake Crosby’s RBI groundout scored Jacobo for the final run of the game.
Eight different Hornets picked up at least one hit in the game. Flores led the way with three hits. That effort extended his hitting streak to a team season high and career-high tying eight games. Blair, Dye and Hannah also had two hits apiece.
The three-game series will continue on Friday at 2 p.m. The final game of the set will be played on Saturday at 1 p.m.