BATS LEAD BASEBALL TO DOUBLEHEADER VICTORY, SERIES SWEEP OF CORNELL
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Sacramento State baseball team scored 28 runs over 16 innings of play, as they defeated Cornell in a doubleheader by scores of 10-6 and 18-5 on Saturday, March 21 at Hornet Field.
With the victories, the Hornets improve to 11-8, and have now won 10 of their last 11 contests.The Big Red dropped to 2-11 on the season following the losses.
In game one, Cornell held a 1-0 heading to the bottom of the first, when the Hornets exploded for four runs, including a RBI single by junior Tim Wheeler and a two-run homer by sophomore Derrick Chung, to take a 4-1 lead. Wheeler then provided a RBI sacrifice fly in the second, which was followed by a RBI double off the left center field wall by senior Blake Crosby, which increased the lead to 7-1.
Cornell cut the Hornet lead to 7-5 in the top off the sixth, as Nathan Ford hit a solo home run to lead off the inning, and Frank Hager followed with a three-run blast later in the inning to cut their deficit to two runs.
Sacramento State put the game away, however, scoring a run in the bottom of the sixth and two in the bottom of the seventh, which included a RBI single by freshman Justin Lamb, to account for the final score of 10-6.
Junior Tommy Elrod (2-0) picked up the victory for the Hornets, allowing five runs on five hits in six innings, striking out five. Senior Nick Buchta came on in relief to pick up his second save, allowing one run on three hits in the final three frames. Taylor Wood (0-1) picked up the loss for the Big Red, allowing eight runs, five earned, on seven hits in 5.2 innings pitched.
Game two saw the teams slug it out to start things, as both clubs pushed four runs across in the first inning of play. Ford hit a two-run homer, Jadd Schmeltzer hit a solo homer and Hager provided a RBI single in the Cornell half of the inning, giving the Big Red a 4-0 advantage. The Hornets started things off with a double by senior leadoff man Hunter Martinez and a walk by Chung, giving the Hornets two runners aboard. Following a fly out, Crosby connected on a RBI single and Chung scored on a wild pitch, to cut the deficit to 4-2. With two outs, senior Jeff Roth hit a two-run double off the center field wall, tying the game at 4-4.
Sacramento State would then open the game up in the bottom of the second, scoring 10 runs to take a commanding lead. Chung connected on a RBI single that scored an additional run due to a fielding error, and Wheeler brought him home with a two-run homer to center, making the score 8-4. After a line out, freshman Aaron Crouch walked, and junior Josh Powers stepped to the plate and hit a two-run homer to give the Hornets a 10-4 lead. After Roth walked, Lamb hit the team's third straight two run homer to left field, which pushed the advantage to 12-4.
The Hornets were not done in the inning, as following a single by Brent Hottman, Martinez uncorked the Hornets fourth two-run homer of the inning to right field, making the score 14-4. In the bottom of the third, Roth stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and hit his first career grand slam to center field, giving the Hornets an 18-4 lead. Cornell scored a lone run in the top of the fifth on a solo home run by Ford, his third of the day, to round out the scoring, with the game ending 18-5 after seven innings due to the 10-run mercy rule.
Sophomore Chris Baek (2-1) ran into trouble early, but settled down to pick up the victory for the Hornets, allowing five runs on nine hits in five innings. Freshmen Alex Taku and Brent Harrison each pitched a shutout frame apiece out of the Hornet bullpen to round out the victory. Corey Pappel (0-2) was roughed up for nine runs, all earned in 1.1 innings pitched, and reliever Brian Billigen fared little better, allowing nine runs on seven hits in 0.2 innings. Patrick Lewicki and David Rochefort combined to shut the Hornets out for the final four innings, allowing three hits while striking out two batters between them.
Offensively, Martinez led the Hornets on the day with five hits in nine at bats, driving in two runs. In game two, Martinez doubled in the first, singled and homered in the second, and finished just a triple away from the cycle. Roth played solely in game two, going 3-for-3 with a single, a double, a home run and six RBI. Chung and Crosby also provided four hits apiece on the game for the Hornets. Ford went 3-for-9 with three home runs to pace Cornell offensively, while Hager finished 4-for-7 with a home run and four RBI.
Sacramento State returns to action on Tuesday as they open up a two-game set at Oregon on Tuesday, March 24. Game one will take place at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, with game two scheduled to start at 1 p.m. Wednesday. Both games will be broadcast live on hornetsports.com.