BASEBALL STAGES COMEBACK TO DEFEAT SAINT MARY'S, 5-3, AND EARN SERIES SPLIT.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Sacramento State came back from a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Saint Mary's Gaels by a score of 5-3 on Tuesday, March 10 at Hornet Field.
With the win, Sacramento State improves to 3-7 on the season, while the Gaels fall to 9-4. The two teams split the four game series, with Saint Mary's winning the two games played in Moraga, and the Hornets winning the games contested in Sacramento.
Saint Mary's contributed all three of their runs in the first inning, as following a leadoff walk by Cory Miller and Kyle Jensen reaching base following a hit by a pitch, Troy Channing ripped a double off the wall in left center, scoring both to give the Gaels a 2-0 advantage. Channing advanced to third on a ground out, and came around to score on a wild pitch by Hornet junior starter Tommy Elrod, making the score 3-0.
The Hornets got a run back in the bottom of the second, as freshman Aaron Crouch led off the inning with a triple to center field, and was driven home on a RBI ground out by junior Josh Powers.
The two teams would remain scoreless until the sixth inning, when the Hornets were able to plate three baserunners. Senior Blake Crosby opened the inning with a single, and with one down, freshman Justin Lamb reached on an error that allowed Crosby to move to second. Following a wild pitch that moved both runners up 90 feet, junior Dan McCarthy singled up the middle, scoring both runners to tie the score at 3-3. McCarthy then stole second base, and was brought in on a RBI single through the right side by Crouch to give the Hornets a 4-3 lead they would not relinquish.
The Hornets added an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh, as sophomore Derrick Chung led off the inning with a single, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by senior Hunter Martinez, and scored on a RBI single by Crosby.
The story of the game may have been the Hornet pitching staff, as following a rough first inning, Elrod settled down to allow just two additional hits, three total, in 5.0 innings of work, striking out a career-high five batters. All five of Elrod's strikeouts came in consecutive order spanning the final two outs of the first inning through the second.
Senior Eric Fregosi (1-1) came on to pitch the final four innings to pick up his first collegiate win, allowing no runs on just one hit with a strikeout. The Burlingame, Calif. native retired 12 of the 15 batters he faced, hitting two batters while allowing the lone hit.
Nathan Gonzalez (0-1) picked up the loss for the Gaels, although he was effective through his first five innings before being hit for three runs in the fifth. All told he threw 5.1 innings, giving up four runs, three of which were earned, on six hits, while striking out four Hornets.
Offensively for the Hornets, Chung, Crosby, Crouch, and sophomore Brent Hottman each connected on a pair of hits, with McCarthy (2), Crouch (1) and Powers (1) picking up RBI.
The Hornets will return to action on Wednesday, March 11 as they host the Pacific Tigers at 2 p.m. The scheduled pitching matchup will pit Hornet sophomore righthander Chris Baek (0-1) against Pacific freshman lefthander Jamie Niley (0-0), who is slated to make his first start of the season.
Sacramento State junior center fielder Tim Wheeler was honored by the College Baseball Foundation as part of their National All-Star Lineup for the week ending March 8. Wheeler hit home runs in three consecutive at bats, a grand slam in the fourth, a three-run shot in the fifth and a solo blast in the seventh, as the Hornets defeated Saint Mary's on Sunday by a score of 14-2.