LAS CRUCES, N.M. — Sacramento State pounded out 18 hits, including 11 from the top four of the lineup to cruise to a 16-4 seven-inning run rule shortened game on Saturday night at Presley Askew Field.
The Hornets (20-15, 6-5) earned their 20th victory on the year and moved back above .500 in Western Athletic Conference play. The 16 runs were the most scored by the team this season.
Nathan Lukes, Rhys Hoskins and Chris Lewis each had three hits and Andrew Ayers, Will Soto, Scotty Burcham and Dane Fujinaka all had two knocks in the game. Hoskins' hits included his second home run of the year as well as a double. Lukes, Lewis, Soto and Justin Higley also added two-base hits.
After the Aggies (19-16, 5-6) took a 1-0 lead on a solo home run from Kyle Phillips in the second inning, Sacramento State tied the game on a sacrifice fly from Ayers which scored Burcham.
That score held until the fourth inning when Hornets posted seven runs on only five hits. Lewis double drove in two runs, David Del Grande and Soto each plated runs on sac flies before Ayers and Lukes both had two out hits to score three unearned runs.
The cushion was plenty from starter Brennan Leitao who improved to 4-2 on the season. The sophomore threw 5.2 innings and allowed three runs and seven hits with one walk and one strikeout. Hunter Greenwood closed out the remaining 1.1 innings.
Sacramento State scored two runs in the fifth and one in the sixth to take an 11-1 lead before NMSU answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth. The Hornets tacked on five additional runs in the seventh on a seven-hit outburst. The first six batters reached base safely in the inning, including a leadoff double from Higley.
The rubber match of the series will take place on Sunday at 11 a.m. PT.