BASEBALL EXTENDS CONFERENCE WINNING STREAK TO SEVEN WITH DOUBLEHEADER SWEEP OVER LA TECH
RUSTON, La. - The Sacramento State baseball team extended its Western Athletic Conference win streak to seven with a doubleheader sweep over Louisiana Tech on Saturday, April 5 at J.C. Love Field. The Hornets won game one 13-7 before taking home a 6-4 victory in game two.
The seven game streak marks the longest conference win streak during the Division I era, breaking the previous mark of six straight, which occurred from March 13 to March 27 of 1998, when the Hornets were members of the Big West Conference
With the wins, the Hornets record improves to 13-15, 8-3 in WAC play, while the Bulldogs fall to 15-14, 2-8 in the WAC. . The pair of victories, combined with a New Mexico State loss in game one of their doubleheader against Nevada, pushed the Hornets back to the first place position in the conference.
In game one, the Hornets opened the scoring in the top of the second, as with one out and runners on second and third, junior Blake Crosby executed a safety squeeze, scoring senior Jeff Hannah, who had singled, to make the score 1-0. Next up was senior Travis Kirkman, who hit a two-run homer to left field, his second of the season, scoring senior Wes Oberlin, who had doubled in the inning, making the score 3-0.
Louisiana Tech would answer right back in the bottom of the inning, as with the bases loaded and nobody out, Nick Grunenwald hit a RBI single, and later in the inning Clay Alexander reached on a RBI fielders choice, and an additional run scored on a Hornet error on the day, tying the score at 3-3.
The top of the third saw the Hornets retake the lead once again, as senior Ryan Blair walked to start the inning and senior David Flores doubled down the left field line, giving the Hornets runners on second and third with nobody out. Junior Gabe Jacobo provided a RBI groundout, which was followed by a RBI double by sophomore Tim Wheeler, making the score 5-3. The Hornets would make it 6-3 later in the inning, as Oberlin brought home Wheeler on a two-out RBI single.
The Bulldogs would again answer in the bottom of the third, cutting the Hornet lead to 6-5 on a two-run home run by Jericho Jones, Louisiana Tech's starting pitcher. The Hornets would add insurance in the top of the sixth with three home runs in the inning. Oberlin and Crosby hit back-to-back solo home runs to open the inning, and later Blair connected on a two-run blast to right center, giving Sacramento State a 10-5 lead.
After Louisiana Tech cut the lead to 10-6 with a solo home run by Alexander in the bottom of the sixth, the Hornets would get the run right back in the top of the seventh on a RBI single by Kirkman. More insurance would come in the eighth and ninth innings, as Blair hit a solo homer, his second of the game in the eighth and Oberlin connected on his second homer of the game in the ninth, also a solo shot. Louisiana Tech scored one additional run in the game, making the final a 13-7 in favor of Sacramento State.
Sophomore Trevor York (2-4) picked up his second straight win, allowing five earned runs on nine hits with three strike outs in six innings of work. Fellow sophomore Tommy Elrod picked up his first career save, pitching the final three innings while allowing one unearned run, spreading out seven hits while recording a strike out. Jones (5-2) picked up the loss, allowing eight runs, all earned, on 10 hits while walking three batters in five innings of work.
Oberlin led the Hornets in game one offensively, going 4-for-4 at the plate with three RBI and three runs scored. Crosby and Kirkman, the Hornets eighth and ninth place hitters in the contest, each with 2-for-4 with a home run, with Kirkman providing three RBI and Crosby driving home two. The six home runs the Hornets hit in the game were a season high, and the second highest output by a WAC team this season. Kevin Winn went 4-for-4 in game one to pace Louisiana Tech.
Game two saw the Hornets score in each of the first three inning to take a 5-2 lead early against the Bulldogs. Junior Hunter Martinez scored on a passed ball in the first inning, and the Hornets got sacrifice flies from Crosby and Blair in the second to take a 3-2 lead. Jacobo then led off the third inning with a solo home run, his fourth of the series, and later in the inning, Crosby provided a RBI single, accounting for the 5-2 lead.
Louisiana Tech cut the lead to 5-3 in the bottom of the fifth, as Chris Kersten provided a RBI single. The Hornets got the run right back in the top of the sixth, as Flores provided a RBI single through the left side, scoring Kirkman to give the Hornets a 6-3 advantage. The Bulldogs again cut the deficit to two runs at 6-4 in the bottom of the eighth, as Clint Stubbs connected on a RBI single, scoring Albie Goulder, but it was as close as they would get. Junior closer Jeff Roth came on to pitch the final four outs of the game, which ended 6-4 in the Hornets favor.
Junior Brian Smith (2-0) picked up his second straight win, allowing three earned runs on seven hits in five innings of work, with five strike outs. Roth picked up his second save of the season, allowing no runs on two hits in 1.1 innings pitched with two strike outs. Dylan Moseley (1-3) picked up the loss, allowing four runs on nine hits in 3.1 innings of work.
Senior Brian Boyd and Martinez went 2-for-3 in the game, while Crosby finished 1-for-3 with a team-high two RBI. Jacobo's home run was his ninth of the season, and fourth of the series. Blair and Crosby led the Hornets on the day with four RBI, while Oberlin scored four runs to lead the squad in that category.
Sacramento State returns to action at Hornet Field on April 11, as they begin a four-game series with the San Jose State Spartans. First pitch of game one is scheduled for 2 p.m.