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March 23, 2013

BASEBALL EVENS SERIES WITH CSU BAKERSFIELD FOLLOWING 5-0 VICTORY

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sophomore Brennan Leitao threw seven innings of shutout baseball to help Sacramento State to a 5-0 win over CSU Bakersfield in the second game of a Western Athletic Conference series on Saturday at John Smith Field.

Leitao's performance improved the Hornets to 13-9 overall and evened the team's record at 1-1 in WAC games. The Roadrunners are now 16-7 overall and are also 1-1 in conference play.

Leitao (2-1), who was battling the stomach flu throughout the day, scattered nine hits but was aided by three double plays by the Sacramento State defense. Brandon Creel worked out of a jam in the eighth inning with a pair of strikeouts and Sutter McLoughlin closed the game in the ninth in a non-save opportunity.

Offensively, the Hornets jumped on Bakersfield starter Scott Brattvet with two runs in the first. Brattvet (4-1) also gave up two runs in the sixth and finished the day allowing seven hits and three walks while losing for the first time in six starts.

"I feel like we stuck with our plan (at the plate) and it worked out," Sacramento State head coach Reggie Christiansen said. "Brennan was throwing up before the game but showed his toughness on the mound."

Sacramento State's first inning runs were set up by a single from David Del Grande. After taking second on a wild pitch (one of five by CSUB during the game), Del Grande scored on a double down the right field line by Rhys Hoskins. Chris Lewis doubled down the left field line two batters later to score Hoskins. That hit extended Lewis' hitting streak to 13 games.

The Hornets turned to small ball to score their two runs in the sixth. Andrew Ayers singled on a hard-hit ball up the middle and stole second. A walk to Justin Higley was followed by a sacrifice attempt from Nathan Lukes which was thrown away by Brattvett allowing Ayers to score. Scotty Burcham added a single to plate Higley.

Sacramento State's final run came in unusual fashion in the seventh. With two outs and no one on against reliever James Barragan, Ayers was hit by a pitch. Barragan then misfired on a pickoff attempt and Ayers advanced to third. Barragan appeared to strike out Lewis on a ball in the dirt but the pitch got away from the catcher and Ayers scored.

Eight different Hornets collected at least one hit with Del Grande going 2-for-2 with a pair of walks and a hit-by-pitch. Del Grande has now reached base in 17 of his last 18 games.

The shutout was the fourth recorded by Sacramento State this season. The Roadrunners were blanked for only the second time in 23 games.

The final game of the series will take place on Sunday at noon.

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