SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Sacramento State trailed by four runs twice, down 4-0 early and 11-7 in the sixth inning, but battled back both times and scored the winning run on a bases loaded walk in the bottom of the eighth to defeat Northern Kentucky, 12-11, in the series finale on Sunday.
Sacramento State (6-1) swept the four-game series and has just one loss through the first two weeks of the season. The Hornets battled back to win in extra innings on Friday and rallied again on Sunday, dropping Northern Kentucky to 1-6 on the year.
The four-game series sweep was the first for Sacramento State over a Div. I team since winning all four games in a home series against Cornell in 2009. The Hornets also had a four-game sweep of Div. II Menlo College later in the 2009 season.
Sunday's win was the 300th career victory for head coach Reggie Christiansen, who reaches 300 career wins as a head coach with a 193-172 record in seven seasons leading Sacramento State.
On Sunday Northern Kentucky jumped out to a 4-0 lead scoring four runs on five hits and a Hornet fielding error in the second inning, scoring the last two on a two-out RBI single from Trey Ganns. Sacramento State got one run back on a James Outman RBI groundout in the third inning but trailed 4-1 going to the bottom of the fourth.
The Hornets then batted around and put up six runs on six hits and a walk, capitalizing on two fly balls that dropped in with the wind pushing them away from the Norse defense. Wind had no factor in the last two runs of the inning, however, as senior Kody Reynolds blasted a home run over the wall in left center to put the home team ahead 7-4.
The Norse had another rally in them and scored seven times in the top of the sixth inning on seven hits and a Hornet error, scoring the last three on a pinch-hit three-run home run off the bat of Chad Roberts.
Down four runs again the Hornets immediately answered with three runs on four hits in the bottom of the sixth to get within an 11-10 deficit. In the seventh inning, junior Andrew McWilliam had a leadoff single and came around to score the tying run on a Reynolds sacrifice fly.
In the bottom of the 8th, junior PJ Floyd had a leadoff single before freshman Dawson Bacho and senior Blake Edmonson drew walks to load the bases. Junior Ian Dawkins, who was already 4-for-5 in the game hitting in the leadoff spot, earned a five-pitch walk to force in Floyd with the go-ahead run.
The Norse got out of the inning down just 12-11 but sophomore Alex Dentoni retired the side in order with two strikeouts in the ninth inning to complete the win.
Dentoni pitched two perfect innings with four strikeouts to earn his third victory already this season. After the seven-run sixth inning the Hornet pitching retired the last 10 batters in faced, with junior Jonny Palsha going three up, three down in the seventh before Dentoni worked perfect eighth and ninth innings.
Dawkins had the Hornets' first four-hit game of the season, singling four times and drawing a walk with three RBIs and a run scored. Reynolds was 2-for-2 with a home run, a double, and two walks with three RBIs and two runs. Outman also drove in three runs while McWilliam, Floyd, and freshman Ricky Martinez all had 2-hit games as well.
In the four-game series the Hornets hit .309 and scored 30 runs, with Outman driving in 11. The pitching staff had a 2.13 ERA and a .186 opposing batting average and had 46 strikeouts to just 10 walks.
Sacramento State plays its first road series of the season next week at Washington, which entered the week ranked No. 10 in the nation in the Baseball America poll before splitting a four-game series at Saint Mary's. The Hornets and Huskies are scheduled to play at 6:05 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 2:05 p.m. Saturday, and 1:05 p.m. next Sunday in Seattle.