Photos Courtesy Chandler Gubler/UVU Athletics
OREM, Utah – Sacramento State junior outfielder Andrew McWilliam hit three home runs and drove in five runs over two games to lead the Hornets to 9-1 and 12-4 wins over Utah Valley in a WAC doubleheader on Friday.
Sacramento State (14-11, 2-3 WAC) has now scored five or more runs in six straight games and nine or more in three straight, outscoring its opposition 30-6 in three games this week. Utah Valley (8-17, 3-2 WAC) had swept its first WAC series on the road at UT Rio Grande Valley last week.
The first Hornet win on Friday was the 200th victory for Reggie Christiansen as Sacramento State's head coach. He reached 200 wins in just 382 games, doing so in less than six and a half seasons leading the program.
The Hornets hit three home runs in each game, totaling six home runs on Friday after entering the day with nine home runs in 23 games this season. As a team the Hornets hit .369 with a .714 slugging percentage on Friday with 31 hits, including 14 extra base hits.
McWilliam and freshman Michael Birch both had three hits and three RBIs, with McWilliam hitting two home runs, and Sacramento State tied its season high with 16 hits in a 9-1 win over Utah Valley.
Birch had two doubles and McWilliam had Sacramento State's first 2-homer game since he hit a pair of home runs against Chicago State last season. He is the first Hornet player to have two multi-homer games in his career since Rhys Hoskins had four such games.
The Hornets took a quick lead as junior PJ Floyd hit an opposite field solo homer with two away in the first inning. In the second, Kody Reynolds and Trent Goodrich had one-out singles and Birch brought them both in with a single to left center.
Sacramento State extended to a 7-0 lead with four runs in the fifth inning. McWilliam began the inning with his first home run of the season to make it 4-0. With two away Vinny Esposito singled and Reynolds reached on a throwing error. Goodrich drove in both runs with a single before Birch hit an RBI double.
Utah Valley got on the board in the bottom of the fifth on a Trevor Peterson RBI single. The Hornets added on in the eighth as junior Ian Dawkins had a triple and McWilliam hit his second homer of the game over the wall in left field.
Senior Justin Dillon scattered nine hits over seven innings, allowing just one run with six strikeouts and two walks. Junior Austin Root held the Wolverines scoreless over the last two innings of the game. Jackson Cofer allowed seven runs (four earned) on 13 hits over 6.1 innings in the loss.
Goodrich also had three hits and drove in two runs while Dawkins, Floyd, and Esposito had two hits. The Hornets totaled six extra-base hits in the game with the team's second multi-homer game this season.
McWilliam hit a 2-run homer in the first inning and, after Utah Valley tied the game at 2-2, the Hornets scored four runs in the sixth and six in the eighth en route to a 12-4 win.
Freshman Parker Brahms allowed just two runs on five hits with six strikeouts to earn his third win. The Hornets outhit the Wolverines 15-9 with more than half of their hits (8) going for extra bases.
The first three Hornet batters reached to open the nightcap. Dawkins had a leadoff single and scored on McWilliam's third long ball of the season, giving the visitors a 2-0 lead before Utah Valley recorded an out. Floyd followed the home run with a single of his own but was stranded at second.
Brahms did not allow a hit until the fourth inning when Zach Willis led off with a solo home run. The Wolverines began the fifth inning with a home run as well as a Kade Poulsen tied the game with a solo shot.
The Hornets answered with four runs in the sixth. Floyd drew a leadoff walk and scored on a double to center from Esposito. After a Devin Lehman single Goodrich drove a ball off the wall in right field for a two-run triple. Freshman Dawson Bacho drove in Goodrich with an infield single to put the Hornets ahead 6-2.
Utah Valley threatened in the seventh but didn't score, and in the eighth Bacho hit a solo home run and freshman Ricky Martinez tripled and scored on a Dawkins sacrifice fly. Sophomore James Outman drove in the ninth Hornet run dropping a single down the left field line and Esposito then blasted a 3-run shot to left center.
Facing a WAC 10-run rule ending in eight innings, the Wolverines scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth to send the game to the ninth.
Esposito finished 3-for-5 with four RBIs with McWilliam, Outman, Bacho, and Martinez recording two-hit games. On the day McWilliam, Esposito, Bacho, and Birch all hit .500. Goodrich and Esposito drove in four runs as 11 different players scored runs and eight drove in runs on Friday.
The Hornets go for the series sweep when the teams meet again at 11 a.m. Pacific time Saturday.