NATCHITOCHES, La. – Kody Reynolds, Vinny Esposito, and Gunner Pollman each had two hits and five Hornet pitchers combined to allow just four hits as Sacramento State defeated Northwestern State, 4-2, on Wednesday night.
Sacramento State (3-1) picked up its third consecutive win on its seven-game season opening road trip to the Southeast. The Hornets handed Northwestern State (3-1) its first loss after the Demons opened their season with a three-game sweep of Alabama State last weekend.
The Hornets put pressure on NWSU starter Evan Tidwell early and often. The visitors had two men reach in the first inning but did not score, and in the second Pollman led off with a double and scored on a sacrifice fly from junior Brandon Hunley.
Sacramento State knocked Tidwell out of the game in the third inning. With one away Reynolds doubled to left, Esposito singled, and freshman Matt Smith drove in the team's second run on an RBI single. Esposito came around on a Pollman RBI single and the Hornets led 3-0.
Northwestern State got a run back in the bottom of the third off a hit batter, double, and RBI groundout from Cort Brinson. The score held until the bottom of the fifth inning when the Demons got a runner to third off a single and two wild pitches and brought in the run with a two-out single.
With a 3-2 lead the Hornets got an insurance run in the top of the ninth inning as Andrew McWilliam led off the inning with a single and, with two away, scored from second on a wild pitch and interference called on the Northwestern State third baseman. The Demons got the tying runs aboard on a pair of walks in the bottom of the ninth but senior Tyler Beardsley got Daniel Garner to foul out to right to end the game.
Sophomore Matt Gorgolinski made his first start as a Hornet and earned the win, allowing just one run and one hit with six strikeouts over four innings. Ryan Smith, Chad Perry, and Beardsley threw the last four innings without allowing a single hit.
Seven of the nine starting position players for the Hornets had a hit on Wednesday. Reynolds and Smith have had hits in all four Sacramento State games this year and Smith has RBIs in each of his first four collegiate games.
Esposito and sophomore Bronson Grubbs had stolen bases on Wednesday as the Hornets are now 11-for-11 in stolen base attempts this year. Sacramento State has opened its season 3-1 for the second consecutive year.
The Hornets conclude their Southeast trip with a series at No. 5 LSU beginning Friday at 5 p.m. Pacific time. The Tigers dropped to 3-1 on the year on Wednesday, blowing an early 8-0 lead in a 12-11 loss at Lamar.