SACRAMENTO, Calif. - New Mexico scored a run on a sacrifice fly in the third inning and that turned out to be the only run they needed as starter Colton Thomson allowed just four hits over eight shutout innings for a 1-0 win over Sacramento State on Monday at John Smith Field.
The loss ended a five-game winning streak for the Hornets. Sacramento State (14-9) took its first one-run loss of the season after entering the game 8-0 in one-run games this year. New Mexico (16-8) improved its stellar road record this season to 10-4.
Thomson tallied eight strikeouts and issued just one walk before closer Victor Sanchez pitched the ninth. Junior Tanner Olson, making his first career start as a Hornet, was superb as well allowing only one run on five hits and no walks with three strikeouts in five innings pitched.
Junior Austin Ragsdale threw a scoreless sixth inning before sophomore Jonny Palsha pitched three shutout frames, allowing only one hit and striking out two. Just one of New Mexico's seven hits went for extra bases while all five Hornet hits in the game were singles.
Both teams had their best scoring chances in the third inning. In the top half New Mexico began the inning with three straight singles with the last a bunt single to load the bases with nobody out. Olson got Lobo second baseman Jared Holley to fly out to center but Scottie Graham came in from third on the sacrifice fly.
The Lobos stranded the other two runners on base, and in the bottom of the third Sacramento State began the inning with a Brandon Hunley walk and infield singles from Dan Deely and Bronson Grubbs to also load the bases with nobody out. Thomson battled back with a pair of strikeouts and got freshman Matt Smith to fly out to end the inning.
Sacramento State was unable to get another runner into to scoring position for the rest of the game. In the ninth inning senior Josh Egan had a pinch hit single with one away but Sanchez got a flyout and groundout to end the game and pick up his seventh save.
Smith finished 0-for-4, ending his career-opening hitting streak at 16 games. The streak was the longest in the WAC this season by three games and the freshman is still hitting .393 this season.
Graham was the only player in the game to tally multiple hits, going 2-for-3. Sacramento State pitchers did not issue a walk in the game and New Mexico permitted just one base on balls.
The Lobos entered the game averaging 7.6 runs per game this season, the 24th best scoring average in Div. I. New Mexico also entered the game ninth in the nation in on-base percentage, 15th in walks, and 18th in batting average but was held to only eight base runners on Monday.
The teams will meet again at 2 p.m. Tuesday at John Smith Field.