SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Junior Max Karnos allowed just one run over seven innings and sophomore Andrew McWilliam drove in two runs, including the game winning RBI in the eighth inning, as Sacramento State earned a 3-2 win over Cal Poly in the finale of a three game series.
In the midst of a 13-game homestand, Sacramento State (10-8) picked up its second win of the week with nine more home games to come over the next two weeks. Cal Poly (13-6) got another strong pitching performance from its starting pitcher but Karnos was better.
A junior college transfer from Western Nevada College, Karnos allowed just three singles and one walk with five strikeouts over seven strong innings. Of his 96 pitches on the afternoon, 63 were strikes as he had three perfect innings and did not allow a hit until the fourth. He also got some great defensive help, particularly from center fielder Bronson Grubbs and his several spectacular catches.
The Hornets gave Karnos an early lead with a pair of runs in the first inning. With one away senior Chris Lewis reached on a throwing error and came around to score on an RBI double from freshman Matt Smith. Junior Kody Reynolds followed with a single, moving Smith to third, and McWilliam singled in the second run.
Sacramento State threatened again with two hits in the third inning but had a runner thrown out at the plate. Cal Poly was able to manufacture a run in the fifth inning as Michael Sanderson led off with a single, moved to second on a ground out and to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a groundout by Nick Meyer.
After Karnos finished his seven strong innings the Mustangs were able to push across the tying run in the eighth on a single by Meyer, a sacrifice bunt, a balk, and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Alex McKenna. The Mustangs stranded two runners on base, however, and in the bottom of the eighth the Hornets regained the lead.
Smith led off the inning with a single and was replaced by pinch runner Blake Edmonson, who stole second with one away. McWilliam then laced a single up the middle to bring in Edmonson with the go-ahead run. Senior Tyler Beardsley retired the side in order on three fly outs in the ninth to seal the win.
Beardsley earned the win in relief as he pitched the final two frames. Cal Poly freshman starter Cam Schneider allowed just two runs (one earned) on five hits with seven strikeouts through five innings. Justin Calomeni pitched the eighth inning and took the loss.
Smith was 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored to lift his season batting average to .432. He has a hit in all 12 games he has played in this year and an RBI in nine games as he leads the team with 12 RBIs this season despite missing six games. He hit .500 (6-for-12) over the three-game series.
McWiliam was 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs and Reynolds was 2-for-3 on the day. The Hornets outhit the Mustangs 11-5 while all five Cal Poly hits were singles. The Mustangs were 0-for-11 with runners on base in the game and 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position while the Hornets were 4-for-11 in those at-bats.
Sacramento State remained undefeated this season when leading after four innings or later. The team is also 5-0 this year when it scores in the first inning and 5-0 when holding the opposition to two runs or fewer.
The Hornets are back at John Smith Field with a single game at 3 p.m. Tuesday against San Francisco.
Jimboy's Tacos Strikeout Meter
Sunday: 5 Strikeouts
Season: 92 Strikeouts