LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The Sacramento State baseball team clinched the series victory with a dominant 6-2 win Saturday afternoon at New Mexico State. Austin Root tossed eight innings of one-run ball while the offense racked up six runs in the series finale.
Austin Root took the mound for Sacramento State looking to bounce back from a rough last outing. He did that and more on Saturday, tossing seven shutout innings before allowing one run in the eighth.
After giving up a two-out single in the first inning, Root retired the next nine straight before giving up another base hit to lead off the fifth. It wasn't until the eighth inning that New Mexico State managed to break through against the senior right-hander, scoring a run on two hits and a couple of well-placed groundouts.
In total, Root allowed just the one run on five hits and one walk over eight excellent innings. He struck out seven while throwing 90 pitches (59 strikes). For Root, it was his second 8.0-inning outing this season. No other Hornets pitcher has tossed more than seven.
For the second straight night, the Hornets offense provided their starter with plenty of support, scoring early and scoring often. Sacramento State scored first for the 16th time this season, improving to 9-7 in such games. They've scored first in 12 of their last 14 games.
On Saturday it was Dylan McPhillips who put Sacramento State on the board with a solo home run, the first of his career, in the second inning. The freshman catcher jumped on the first pitch he saw from New Mexico State's Jonathan Groff, driving it deep out to left field. Three batters later, James Outman singled home Keith Torres to make it a 2-0 game.
Sacramento State really pulled away in the fifth inning. After Matt Smith and Andrew McWilliam each singled, PJ Floyd launched a three-run blast to deep right field to make it a 5-0 Hornets lead. The home run was his second of the season.
Smith, who returned to action this past Thursday after missing seven games, collected three hits for the second straight game. The sophomore outfielder is 6-for-13 with two runs scored and three RBIs since his return. He leads the team with a .294 batting average.
Sacramento State made it a six-run game on a Steven Moretto RBI-single in the seventh inning. Moretto, who leads the team with 24 RBIs, has driven in seven over his last five games.
After New Mexico scored one against Root in the eighth, they managed to push another run across in the ninth against Tanner Dalton, snapping Dalton's streak of scoreless innings at 7.2 innings.
Despite a slow start to the season, the Hornets offense has started to deliver over the last two weekends. They have scored six or more runs in four of their last five games while averaging almost 10 hits per game during that time.
With the win, Sacramento State improved to 11-14 overall while climbing to 2-1 in Western Athletic Conference play.
Sacramento State will have a quick day off as they return from New Mexico before hosting Saint Mary's at John Smith Field on Monday, April 2 in Sacramento. First pitch for Monday's contest is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. PT.