SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Senior Chris Lewis continued his torrid hitting streak going 3-for-4 and driving in all four Hornet runs in a 4-1 victory over Chicago State on Sunday at John Smith Field.
Sacramento State (22-13, 10-2 WAC) improved to 9-0 in home WAC games this year with sweeps of North Dakota, Northern Colorado, and now Chicago State. It is the first time in program history that the Hornets have swept their first three home WAC series of a season.
Lewis had multiple hits in each game of the Chicago State series, finishing the weekend 8-for-12 (.667) with 5 RBIs and 4 runs scored. He had two doubles and also stole a base with an .833 slugging percentage and .692 on-base percentage in the series. Including his 3-hit game in Sacramento State's 7-2 win at Nevada on Tuesday, Lewis, the team's leadoff hitter, was 11-for-17 (.647) with 8 RBIs and 5 runs with three doubles for the week.
On Sunday Lewis got the scoring going in the third inning with a two-out double that drove in junior Brandon Hunley, who had led off the inning with a double of his own. Chicago State (7-28, 1-11 WAC) was held hitless through the first four innings but tied the game in the fifth as Malik Carpenter had a leadoff double and eventually scored on a groundout.
The Hornets answered with two in the bottom of the fifth. Hunley and sophomore Bronson Grubbs had singles and stood at second and third with two away after a Cougar throwing error. Lewis then laced a single to left field to score both runners.
The three runs were all that Hornet senior Grant Kukuk needed as he allowed just the one run on two hits and two walks with two strikeouts over seven strong innings. Lewis did bring home an insurance run in the seventh inning, however, driving in Grubbs after the Hornet centerfield walked and stole second and third with two away.
Junior Chad Perry retired the side in the eighth inning and senior Tyler Beardsley struck out one in a perfect ninth. Kukuk improved to 5-1 this season winning his third consecutive start while Beardsley upped his WAC-leading saves total to eight and lowered his microscopic ERA to 0.34.
Chicago State senior left hander Dillon Engle allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits and two walks over 7.0 innings in the loss. The double by Carpenter was Chicago State's only extra-base hit of the series as the Hornets held the Cougars to a .171 batting average and just five runs over the three games.
Sacramento State hit .337 in the series as, in addition to the big numbers from Lewis, Hunley hit .500 with 2 doubles, a home run, and 2 RBIs and Grubbs also hit .500 with three runs and two steals over the weekend.
With his four runs batted in on Sunday Lewis moved into a tie for sixth in program history with 117 career RBIs. He is also sixth in program history with 42 career doubles.
The Hornets will play eight of their next nine games on the road and don't play at John Smith Field again until May 6. The team faces Pacific in Stockton at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday before a WAC series at UT Rio Grande Valley next weekend.
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