SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Senior center fielder David Del Grande, who on Monday was named the WAC Hitter of the Week, continued his hot streak at the plate with a three-run home run in the fifth inning to lead Sacramento State to a 7-1 victory over Air Force on Tuesday at John Smith Field.
Sacramento State (13-11) won its fifth consecutive game as five Hornet pitchers combined to allow just one run on four hits. Air Force (4-19) committed six errors in the game and used four pitchers and 17 position players in the contest.
Redshirt freshman Justin Dillon started and had his longest appearance as a Hornet, pitching three strong innings and allowing just one run on two hits with three strikeouts and no walks. Freshman Chad Perry threw three innings in relief and was immaculate, setting down all nine batters he faced with one strikeout.
The Hornets jumped on Air Force starter Steven Trojan in the first inning, benefiting from two hit batters, two stolen bases, and a throwing error by catcher Brian Sicher to score one run. In the top of the second the Falcons used a hit batter, a steal, and an RBI double from Coleman Poje to tie the score.
In the fifth, Nathan Lukes and Kyle Moses opened the inning with consecutive bunt singles to set the stage for Del Grande, who launched his second home run in the last four games to put the Hornets up 4-1. Sacramento State totaled seven hits in the inning and cashed in one more run on an RBI single from catcher Dane Fujinaka.
Air Force miscues led to two more runs in the seventh inning, with the team committing three errors and issuing four walks as the Hornets scored twice despite not having a hit in the inning and grounding into a double play.
Perry earned the win, his first as a Hornet, while Air Force reliever Trent Monaghan, who gave up the home run to Del Grande, dropped to 0-3 with the loss. Eight different Hornets had a single hit in the game and six players scored runs, with Moses the only player in the game to score twice and Del Grande the only player to drive in multiple runs.
The Hornets and Falcons will meet again at 3 p.m. tomorrow at John Smith Field, weather permitting. A win would give the Hornets their sixth straight victory, which would be the longest winning streak the team has had since 2009.