BASEBALL SWEEPS DOUBLEHEADER AGAINST SAN JOSE STATE
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Sacramento State baseball team regained sole possession of first place in the Western Athletic Conference with a doubleheader sweep of the visiting San Jose State Spartans on Saturday, April 12 at Hornet Field. The Hornets won game one 6-3, before taking home a 10-9 victory in game two.
With the pair of victories, the Hornets improved to 15-16 overall, 10-4 in WAC play, while the Spartans fell to 16-16, 7-11 in the WAC.
Game one saw the Hornets take a lead they would not relinquish in the bottom of the fourth, as four runs crossed home plate. Reigning WAC Pitcher of the Week Ryan Shopshire had some control issues, walking three batters in the inning, including a run home. The Hornets also had clutch two out hits, as senior Brian Boyd connected on a two-run single, and junior Blake Crosby followed with a RBI single, making the score 4-0 Hornets.
The game would remain scoreless until the top of the sixth, when the Spartans would cut the Hornet lead in half. With the bases loaded and two out, pinch hitter Bryson Rahier connected on a two-run single to right, scoring Danny Stienstra and Craig Hertler, making the score 4-2 in favor of Sacramento State. San Jose State then pulled within one in the top of the seventh, as Sonny Garza singled to lead off the inning, and advanced all the way to third on a failed pickoff attempt that stayed in the field of play, and scored on a RBI single by Stienstra.
The Hornets would get insurance in the form of two runs in the bottom of the eighth, as sophomore Tim Wheeler, who reached base on a leadoff infield single, advanced to second on a walk by Boyd, and took third base and home plate on consecutive pitches to the backstop by reliever Trevor Gibson. Crosby then doubled down the left field line, scoring Boyd, to make the score 6-3.
That was all the insurance the Hornets would need, as junior closer Jeff Roth, who came into the game in the top of the eighth, threw a 1-2-3 ninth to shut the door on the Spartans and pick up his third save of the season. Sophomore Trevor York (3-4) picked up his third straight win, hurling seven innings while allowing three runs, two earned, on seven hits while striking out two batters. Shopshire (5-1) picked up his first loss of the year, allowing four runs, all earned, on three hits, with three walks in just two innings of work. In relief of him, Christopher McNeil limited the Hornets to one run and four hits over the next five innings, with his unusual assortment of off-speed pitches.
The seventh and eighth place hitters in the lineup for the Hornets were the offensive heroes in game one, as Boyd and Crosby each went 2-for-3 with two RBI.
Game two between the conference rivals, who are two of three teams in the WAC located in the state of California, started as a slugfest, with the first six runs of the game driven in solely on home runs. The Hornets struck first, as senior Wes Oberlin hit a two-run home to left-center field in the bottom of the second, his sixth of the season, giving Sacramento State a 2-0 lead. The Spartans got one of the runs back in the top of the third, as Stienstra hit a solo homer to left field, his first of the season, making the score 2-1. San Jose State then took the lead in the top of the fourth, as Tommy Gale hit his first home run of the season, a three-run shot to left field, giving the Spartans a 4-2 lead.
The Hornets got a run back immediately in the bottom of the fourth, as freshman Brent Hottman provided a RBI groundout, scoring Oberlin, cutting the deficit to 4-3. But the Spartans fired right back with a RBI groundout of their own in the top of the fifth, with Karson Klauer plating Stienstra, pushing the lead back to two runs at 5-3.
Then the floodgates opened, as Sacramento State pushed 7 runs across the board in the bottom of the fifth, taking a 10-5 lead. Senior David Flores got it started in the inning with a one-out double to deep center, his WAC leading 18th of the season, and he then came around to score on a double by junior Gabe Jacobo down the left field line. Following a pitching change, Jacobo advanced to third on a wild pitch, allowing Wheeler to connect on a RBI single to right field. Oberlin joined the hit parade next with a single to center field, and then Boyd followed with a single to right field, scoring Wheeler. Following a strike out, Hottman hit a RBI single up the middle, scoring Oberlin, and then the top of the lineup, junior Hunter Martinez, got into the action himself, with a RBI single up the middle scoring Boyd. Senior Ryan Blair, who had led off the inning, then singled to center field, scoring Hottman and Martinez. All told in the inning, the Hornets got seven runs on eight hits to take the five-run advantage.
The Spartans, however, were not done, as they chipped away at the lead with three runs in the top of the seventh, coming on a RBI single by Stienstra and RBI walks by Rahier and Garza. Another Spartan run came across in the top of the eighth as, with runners on second and third and one out and Hornet closer Roth on for the second straight game, Klauer hit a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Stienstra, making the score 10-9. But that would be as close as the Spartans would get, as Roth pitched his second straight 1-2-3 ninth inning to pick up his fourth save of the season and second on the day.
Senior Alvaro Orozco (4-0) picked up the win in relief for the Hornets, allowing four runs on four hits in two innings pitched. Spencer Snodgrass (0-2) picked up the loss in relief, as he did not retire a batter in the fifth, allowing three runs on three hits, all earned. Ryan Vander Tuig pitched strong out of the ‘pen for the Spartans, allowing just one hit in 3.1 innings pitched.
Oberlin led the Hornet offensive charge with a 3-for-5 performance in game two, with two RBI and three runs scored. Boyd posted two hits for the second straight game, with a RBI and a run scored. Stienstra had a banner game in the losing effort, going 5-for-5 with two RBI and four runs scored.
The two teams will close out their eight-game season series on Sunday, April 13 at Hornet Field. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m., with neither team having announced a starter for the contest.