BELLEVUE, Wash. – Sophomore Sam Long allowed just two hits over seven innings but Seattle U pushed across two runs while four Redhawk pitchers held the Hornets to just four hits in a 2-1 win in the series finale on Saturday.
Seattle U (15-15, 8-1 WAC) won its seventh consecutive WAC game to take a two-game lead atop of the conference standings. Sacramento State (17-13, 6-3 WAC) was swept in a conference series for the first time since the 2013 season as the Redhawks held the Hornets to just five runs in the series.
Sacramento State had its chances again on Saturday but the Seattle U pitching staff stranded seven Hornets on base and held the visitors to 1-for-11 hitting for the game with runners in scoring position. Seattle U only had three base runners reach in the game on two hits and one walk but scored two of them, including a go-ahead solo homerun from Brock Carpenter in the fifth inning that proved to be the difference.
Seattle U got on the scoreboard in the first inning after a leadoff single, a fielder's choice, and two stolen bases put Dalton Hurd on third base with one away and Brian Olson drove him in with a sacrifice fly to right field.
In the fourth inning Hornet junior Chris Lewis drew a one out walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. After a strikeout freshman Vinny Esposito bounced a single to first base and, with nobody covering home plate, Lewis came around third and scored the tying run.
The Hornets had two aboard in the top of the fifth but hit into an inning-ending double play before Carpenter hit the first pitch thrown in the bottom of the inning over the wall in left to put Seattle U up 2-1.
Trailing by just a run, the Hornets drew a leadoff walk in each of the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings. In both the eighth and ninth a bunt moved the potential tying run to second base with one away, but in the eighth the Redhawks got out of the inning with a strikeout and fly out and in the ninth reliever Ted Hammond induced a fly out and ground out to end the game.
The Hornets had been 6-0 in Long's six starts this year and, despite another superb performance by the sophomore, took a loss in one of his starts for the first time this season. Long, who entered the game third in the NCAA with a 0.67 season WHIP, allowed just two hits and one walk with four strikeouts on Saturday. Junior Tyler Beardsley had one strikeout in a hitless eighth inning.
Seattle U starter Tarik Skubal improved to 3-3 this season allowing one run on four hits and two walks in 6.1 innings pitched and Hammond tallied his second save of the season. Esposito, who made his first career start at third base on Saturday, was 1-for-2 with a walk in the game and hit 5-for-11 with two RBIs in the series. Junior Nathan Lukes and senior Kyle Moses each had hits to extend their reached-base streaks to 30 and 18 games, respectively.
The Hornets play at Causeway rival UC Davis at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday before another WAC road series at Utah Valley next weekend.