SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Sacramento State baseball team opened its season in fine fashion on Saturday, sweeping a home doubleheader over Washington State with wins of 10-2 and 6-4 at John Smith Field.
The Hornets fought back from early deficits in both games, capitalizing on Washington State miscues and coming through with timely hits. Sacramento State earned a win over a Power 5 school within the first two games of the season for the fifth consecutive year, starting 2-0 this time.
Sunday's game, originally scheduled for a 2 p.m. start, has been moved up to noon in an effort to beat the rain.
Senior Justin Dillon allowed just one hit through seven innings and Sacramento State rallied for eight runs in the eighth inning to help the Hornets to a 10-2 win in the season opener.
Dillon was dominant, striking out four while not allowing a walk. The one runner he allowed to reach base came in the third inning when Shane Matheny pulled a fastball down the right field line and off the foul pole to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead.
That advantage was short-lived as Sacramento State tied the game in the bottom of the third. Devin Lehman and Ian Dawkins each drew walks before Kody Reynolds looped a ball into shallow right center for a two-out RBI.
The Hornets moved ahead in the sixth inning when Reynolds crushed a ball into the fourth floor of the parking garage in left field.
WSU knotted the game in the eighth inning with a two-out single from Andres Alvares. Cory Meyer greeted Alex Dentoni with a leadoff single and the runner was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Alvarez then lined a ball up the middle to tie the game, 2-2.
Sacramento State put the game out of reach in the bottom of the inning. Devin Lehman led off with a walk and, after a strikeout, Dawkins and Andrew McWilliam were each hit by a pitch to load the bases. Reynolds drove in his third run of the game when he was hit in the head. Brandon Hunley followed with a ground ball to third that might have ended the inning with a double play, but it was mishandled allowing a run to score and keeping the bases loaded. Josh Outman then cleared the bags with a triple off the right field wall and Dan Deely had a pinch hit single to score Outman. Following a walk, Ricky Martinez singled to right to lead the bases and Dawkins ended the scoring with a two-run single to left.
Dentoni earned the victory following two innings of relief. Colby Nealy, the fourth of five Washington State pitchers, took the loss. Reynolds finished 2-for-2 with 3 RBIs and 2 runs scored while Outman also drove in three and Dawkins brought home two runs.
Sacramento State had two triples and a double among its six hits and capitalized on four Washington State errors in a 6-4 victory over the Cougars.
Freshman Austin Roberts was superb in his first collegiate start, striking out five batters over the first two innings and finishing with six strikeouts in four innings of work. A high pitch count got to Roberts as he also issued four walks but he permitted just two hits and one run when Washington State's Justin Harrer led off the fourth inning with a home run off the parking structure in left field.
In the fifth inning, Harrer doubled the WSU lead to 2-0 as he drove in a run with a sacrifice fly, but the Hornets limited the damage to just one run after the Cougars loaded the bases with none out. The Hornets got that run back in the bottom of the fifth as Outman tripled high off the wall in right field and scored on a Dawsen Bacho groundout.
The Hornet bats really came alive in the sixth inning as Lehman led off with a double, Vinny Esposito singled him home, and Ian Dawkins tripled to the ally in left center to quickly score two runs. Reynolds drove in Dawkins for a third run in the inning to put the Hornets ahead 4-2.
The Cougars tied it up with two quick runs in the seventh on an RBI double from Harrer and a bases loaded walk. Once again the Hornets quickly countered in the bottom of the seventh scoring two runs without a hit, capitalizing on a hit batter, a walk, a wild pitch, and two Cougar errors to take a 6-4 lead.
Senior Chad Perry came out of the bullpen and, after the first two WSU hitters reached in the eighth inning, got the last three outs and went three up, three down in the ninth to earn his second career save.
Sacramento State's six hits came from six different players. Outman had his second triple of the day and scored two runs. Senior Tanner Olson earned the win for the Hornets after he got the last out in the seventh inning while reliever Parker McFadden took the loss for Washington State, which had 10 hits but stranded 11 runners on base.