PHOENIX, Ariz. – Junior Max Karnos put together his second straight outstanding start, allowing just one run over eight innings, and sophomore PJ Floyd hit a 2-run home run as Sacramento State picked up a 4-1 win over Grand Canyon in the series opener on Friday night in Phoenix.
Karnos threw seven shutout innings to start the game after tossing a shutout last Friday against Utah Valley. He had a 16-inning scoreless streak snapped as GCU scored a run in the eighth inning but he lowered his season ERA to 2.76 in his sixth win of the year.
Sacramento State (27-22, 14-8 WAC) overcame 100-degree heat and rode Karnos to a win in just one hour and 59 minutes, the team's quickest game of the year. Grand Canyon (22-25-1, 10-12 WAC), the defending regular season WAC champion, lost its fifth straight game and lost for the seventh time in its last nine home WAC games.
Each team had eight hits in the game but Karnos scattered the GCU hits and got two double plays. He had 16 groundouts and did not record a fly out until the eighth inning. In fact, neither team had a flyout through the first seven innings of the game and neither pitcher issued a walk through the first 7.5 innings.
GCU starter Cameron Brendel went the distance for the Antelopes, allowing four runs on eight hits and no walks and throwing only 91 pitches. Karnos threw just 93 pitches in his eight innings before senior Tyler Beardsley picked up his WAC-leading ninth save of the season pitching the ninth.
Making just his second start of the season, Floyd hit his second homer of the year in the second inning. After junior Kody Reynolds got aboard with a one-out single Floyd launched a two-out, two-run home run over the wall in right.
The Hornets moved ahead 3-0 in the sixth inning as sophomore Andrew McWilliam led off with a double, moved to third on a bunt single by junior Trent Goodrich, and scored on a fielder's choice and RBI from freshman Matt Smith.
Karnos set down the first two GCU hitters in the eighth inning before a double and a walk. Garrison Schwartz followed with an RBI single and the Lopes had runners on the corners with two away but Karnos ended his night getting his only fly out of the game on a ball hit to left.
Sacramento State added an insurance run on consecutive doubles from Smith and senior Chris Lewis to open the ninth inning, with both hits coming on the first pitch. Beardsley issued a one-out walk in the bottom of the ninth before getting a double play to end the game.
Seven of the nine Hornet starters had a hit on Friday with McWilliam going 2-for-4. Schwartz had three of the eight Grand Canyon hits as the Hornets held the Antelopes to 1-for-10 hitting in the game with runners on base. Both teams turned three double plays on the night.
A pair of lefties will start game two of the series at 7 p.m. Saturday with Hornet junior Sam Long facing GCU sophomore Jake Repavich.