BASEBALL'S LATE COMEBACK FALLS SHORT IN LOSS TO No. 16 ARIZONA
TUCSON, Ariz. -- The Hornets scored six runs in the final three innings but could not overcome an 11-0 deficit as 16th-ranked Arizona defeated the Sacramento State baseball team, 11-6, Sunday afternoon at Kindall Field. The game marked the Hornets first loss in a three-game series this season (3-1).
The Hornets are now 11-11 on the year while the Wildcats improved to 9-6-1. Sacramento State is now 2-5 against the Pac-10 and 2-4 against ranked opponents.
Arizona jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the first inning when Bill Rhinehart drove in two runs with a double to left center and Jeff Van Houten hit an RBI single to right field. The Wildcats added another run in the second after John Hardy scored on a fielding error by senior John Acha at third base.
Arizona made it 8-0 in the fourth when Moises Duran and Jason Donald recorded RBI singles, Rhinehart drove in a run with a groundout and Brad Boyer scored on a throwing error by sophomore Jim Strombach in left field. The Wildcats added a run in the fifth (RBI single by Duran) and two runs in the sixth (two run fielding error by junior Craig Johnson in right field) to make it 11-0.
Sacramento State scored its first run in the seventh after junior Travis Kassebaum drew a bases loaded walk from Chris Frey. With two outs, freshman Billy Sinacori and junior Brett Flowers hit consecutive singles and then advanced a base when junior Kyle Aure drew a walk from Wildcat starter Kevin Guyette. In the next at-bat, Kassebaum drew a bases loaded walk.
The Hornets made it 11-2 in the eighth when Flowers drew a bases loaded walk from Terrance Taylor. Junior Ronnie Machado, Jr., led off the inning by reaching safely on a fielding error by Duran at third base. After Johnson drew a walk, Acha singled to right field to load the bases. With two outs, Flowers drew the RBI walk to drive in the Hornet run.
Sacramento State cut the deficit to 11-6 in the ninth after a two-run single by Johnson, an RBI groundout by Sinacori and a run scoring fielding error by Duran at third. Kassebaum led off the inning with a double to left center before junior Pedro Santiago and Machado, Jr., drew consecutive walks from John Meloan to load the bases. In the next at-bat, Johnson singled to right field to drive in two runs. After Acha singled to third, Sinacori drove in a run with a fielding error by Duran at third which also allowed Johnson to score from second. From there, Scott Burns recorded the final two outs to end the Hornet comeback.
Guyette (2-2) earned the win after allowing only one run on six hits while walking two and striking out one in 6.2 innings of work.
Sophomore James Wheeler (0-1) was tagged with the loss after allowing six runs (five earned) on six hits while walking five and striking out one in 3.0 innings. Senior Andy Mohr and freshman Chris Mols combined for 2.0 innings of perfect relief to aid the comeback attempt.
Senior Jack Arroyo finished 2-for-3 in the game and Acha also added two hits (2-for-4) to lead the Hornet offense. Acha, a native of Turlock, Calif., leads the Hornets with a .367 batting average while Arroyo (Manteca, Calif.) is second with a .358 average. Machado, Jr., who finished 1-for-4, currently leads the squad with a nine-game hitting streak.
Sacramento State will next travel to Santa Clara on Wednesday, Mar. 10, at 2:30 p.m. before returning home to host San Francisco State for a three-game series from Fri-Sun., Mar. 12-14, at Hornet Field.