SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Junior right-hander Brennan Leitao allowed just three hits over eight shutout innings and the Hornets capitalized on three Chicago State errors to score four unearned runs in a 6-0 win on Friday at John Smith Field.
With the win Sacramento State (29-18, 15-4 WAC) moved within one victory of its third-consecutive 30-win season, a feat the program has not accomplished since a string of nine straight 30-win seasons from 1985-1993. Chicago State (14-29, 3-13 WAC), which entered the contest third in the WAC in hitting, was shut out for just the third time this season.
Leitao allowed just four base runners on three hits and one walk while striking out six to improve to 7-3 overall and 6-0 in the WAC. Sophomore Sutter McLoughlin finished the win with a perfect ninth, as the Cougars did not have a hit after the fourth inning. The visitors also failed to advance a runner past second base in the game.
"Brennan threw a great game; he was in complete control from the get-go," head coach Reggie Christiansen said. "Any time you win on Friday and give yourself a chance to win the series on Saturday is always special, especially with just three weekends left to play. Our goal is to win every series and win the championship."
The Hornet offense loaded the bases with nobody out in the first inning but was able to push across just one run on a sacrifice fly from senior David Del Grande. Sacramento State grounded into an inning-ending double play in each of the first two innings as Cougar starter Andrew Wellwerts was able to work out of trouble.
In the fifth inning, senior Clay Cederquist reached on a throwing error to open the frame and came around to score on an RBI single by sophomore Dane Fujinaka. After stealing second Fujinaka came home on an RBI single from junior Kyle Moses to put the home team up 3-0.
Fujinaka and Moses would also both drive in runs again in the seventh inning, with Fujinaka bringing home pinch runner Scott Loper on a suicide squeeze while reaching base on an error by the pitcher Wellwerts. After a wild pitch moved Fujinaka to second Moses came through again with an RBI double to add to the lead.
A sixth Hornet run scored in the eighth as senior Will Soto came home from third on a 2-out throwing error by the Chicago State shortstop, and McLoughlin needed just 10 pitches to close the game out in the ninth.
Wellwerts went the distance for Chicago State, throwing 133 pitches and allowing 10 hits and two walks but just two earned runs. Moses was 3-for-4 with two doubles, which were the only extra base hits in the game, while Cederquist went 2-for-3 and Fujinaka finished 1-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored. The game was completed in just one hour and 58 minutes.
Freshman Sam Long will face Chicago State junior right-hander Ean McNeal in game two of the series Saturday at 2 p.m.