SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – It was all about the offense in the first two games of the series between Sacramento State and UC Santa Barbara, but the pitching took center stage Sunday afternoon in the Hornets' 2-0 win over the Gauchos.
Austin Root took the mound on Sunday for Sacramento State (8-11) looking for his third win of the season. The senior right-hander came into the game having allowed just two earned runs over his last 16 innings and was even better Sunday.
Root took a no-hitter into the seventh inning before giving up a base hit to Santa Barbara's (6-11-1) Tommy Jew to open the frame. It was the only hit he allowed over 7.1 innings. Root scattered four walks and struck out six while throwing 98 pitches (59 strikes).
He ran into trouble in the eighth inning, walking two before getting an out at third on a sacrifice bunt attempt. He gave way to Tanner Dalton out of the bullpen, who retired five straight to close out the game.
Root was rewarded with his team-leading third win of the season for his effort while Dalton picked up his second save.
While Santa Barbara managed just one hit against Sacramento State's pitchers, the Hornets offense had six hits and two walks against the Gauchos' pitchers. They put a runner on base in each of the first seven innings but were unable to make anything happen until the seventh.
Josh Urps opened the frame with a base hit for Sacramento State. After Bronson Grubbs failed to advance him with a bunt, Ian Dawkins came to the plate with one on and one out. He crushed the fourth pitch he saw out to left field for a two-run home run, his second home run of the season.
With the win, Sacramento State clinched the series win in Santa Barbara, having taken two of three games this weekend. It is the first time since the 2001 one season that the Hornets have taken a series against a Big West team, when they defeated UC Riverside in two of three games. They have also now won three of their last four, including last weekend's finale against Santa Clara.
Sunday was the eighth straight game in which the Hornets scored first. They improved to 3-5 during that stretch and 8-11 for the season overall.
The shutout win is Sacramento State's third this season, the second most in the WAC.
The Hornets will have an off day tomorrow before returning to action on Tuesday. They'll take on Saint Mary's on the road in what is the fourth of 10 straight games away from John Smith Field. First pitch on Tuesday is set for 3:00 pm PT.