SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sophomore Brian Blauser finished 4-for-4 and senior John Acha extended his hitting streak to 14 games but UC Riverside scored five runs in the first six innings to lead the Highlanders to a 9-1 win over the Sacramento State baseball team, Monday afternoon at Hornet Field. The game marked the final game of a two-game series with the Highlanders.
The Hornets fell to 15-15 on the year while the Highlanders improved to 14-11. With the loss, Sacramento State matched its season-high losing streak of three games.
UC Riverside opened a 2-0 lead in the second inning after a lead-off home run by Kyle Barrett and an RBI single to center field by Brett Bigler. The Highlanders increased their lead to 3-0 in the third after an RBI single by Louie Hernandez to right field.
Sacramento State made it 3-1 in the bottom of the third when junior Craig Johnson drove in sophomore Jim Strombach with a sacrifice fly to left field. With Strombach on second, Johnson hit a slicing drive towards left-center field. Matt Cunningham ran down the drive and made the catch before stumbling to the ground. In the midst of the confusion over wether the ball was caught, Strombach tagged at second and scored.
UCR made it 5-1 in the fourth when Tony Festa hit a sacrifice fly to center and Brian Steinmeyer drove in a run with a double down the left-field line. The Highlanders scored another run in the fifth after Hernandez hit a solo home run over the right-center wall.
UCR added two more run in the eighth and a run in the ninth to end the game and sweep the two-game series.
John Martinez (4-0) earned the win after allowing one run on seven hits while striking out four batters in 6.0 innings.
Freshman Billy Sinacori (1-4) was tagged with the loss after allowing three runs on six hits while walking two and striking out one in 2.0 innings.
Blauser led the Hornet offense with his perfect performance (4-for-4) while increasing his batting average from .178 to .268. Acha tied senior Jack Arroyo for the team lead with his 14-game hitting streak. Arroyo hit safely in the Hornetsâ€™ first 14 games of the season.
Festa led the Highlander offense by finishing 3-for-4 from the plate.
The Hornets next play a home-and-home series with Pacific from Thursday-Sunday, Mar. 25-28. The first two games will be played at 5 p.m. at Billy Hebert Field before returning to Hornet Field for the final two games. Both contests at Hornet Field will begin at 1 p.m.