The Hornets pounded out 11 runs and 15 hits while the bullpen shut down a late Centenary rally as the Sacramento State baseball team defeated the Gents, 11-8, Wednesday evening at Shehee Stadium. Sacramento State improved to 22-16 on the season (5-12 on the road) while the Gents fell to 19-24. The Hornets have now won two-consecutive road games for the first time since May of 2002.
Sacramento jumped out to an early 4-0 lead after an RBI groudout by junior Chris Kinsey and RBI singles by juniors Jesse Schmidt and Bobby Ciani and sophomore Matt Wilson. With one out, sophomore Bret LeVier hit a double to right field and would move to third on a wild pitch by Centenary starter David Ruffing. In the next at-bat, Kinsey would score LeVier from third with a ground ball to second. Junior Mikela Olsen would then draw a walk and steal second base. Schmidt followed with a base hit to center to score Olsen. After Schmidt stole second, Wilson lined a single up the middle drive in a run. Wilson would then move to second after a second wild pitch by Ruffing before Ciani ended the Hornets scoring with a base hit to left field.
Centenary cut the lead to 4-3 after scoring once in the first ining and two times in the second. In the first, Bobby Gilliam led off with a hit and then reached second after a sacrifice bunt by Patrick Beale. In the next at-bat, Patrick Jolley hit a hard grounder to second. Ciani made the grab but his throw bounced past Kinsey at first, allowing Gilliam to score from second. In the second inning, Kyle Heaverlo and Gilliam would drive in two runs with a pair of RBI singles.
The Hornets increase their lead to 9-3 after recording five runs in the third. Sacramento State would capitalize on a run scoring wild pitch by Centenary releiver Jacob Willett, a two-run throwing error by third baseman Alex Valdivia, a run scoring throwing error by shortstop Tony Cardone and an RBI double by sophomore Everet Rincon.
The Gents would make it 9-4 in the third after an RBI single by Valdivia.
Sacramento State added another run in the fourth when Schmidt hit his ninth home run of the season with a drive over the right field wall.
Centenary made it 10-5 in the fifth after an RBI single by Cardone.
The Hornets would score another run in the seventh after an RBI single by LeVier.
The Gents would then cut the lead to 11-7 with two more runs in the eighth.
In the bottom of the ninth, Centenary staged a late rally but freshman Mel Cuckovich and junior Renecke Stelzriede would seal the victory for the Hornets. After senior Steve Correa gave way to sophomore Warren Rosebrock, the Gents would record three-consecutive singles to load the bases with no outs. Cuckovich entered the contest and got pinch hitter J.C. Biagi to ground into a force out at second, allowing Centenary to cut the lead to 11-8. Stelzriede would then enter the contest and force Valvidia to ground into a six-three double play to end the game.
Correa (1-0) earned his first Hornet win after allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits while striking out two and walking only one in five and one-thirds innings of relief. Stelzriede earned his team-leading fourth save.
Ruffing (2-5) was tagged with the loss after allowing seven runs on five hits while walking two and striking out one in two innings.
Schmidt, a native of San Diego, increased his team-high hitting streak to 21 games after going two-for-four with three runs and two RBI . The Palomar JC transfer, who also recorded his 14th stolen base of the season, is currently tied for second with Josh Payne (1998) in the Hornet record book. He is one game behind Casey Simpson (22, 1992) for the program lead.
Ciani and freshman Jim Strombach led the Hornet offense by finishing with a 3-for-5 performance from the plate. LeVier and Wilson also had multiple hits for the Hornets.
Sacramento State and Centenary will play the second game of the three-game series on Thursday, April 17, at 5 p.m.