SACRAMENTO, Calif. – After winning by 10 or more in each of the first two games of the series against Chicago State, Sacramento State did it again Sunday, beating the Cougars 10-0 in seven innings to complete the three-game sweep.
Sunday's game, which started early at 10:30 am, got off to a similar start to the first two games of the series as the Hornets jumped ahead 2-0 in the first inning. After a James Outman infield single and a Vinny Esposito walk, Matt Smith drove in both with a two-run triple.
Smith finished the day a home run shy of the cycle, going 3-for-3 with three RBIs, two runs scored, and a walk. The showing capped a strong weekend for Smith, who went 6-for-10 in three games against Chicago State. He had two doubles, a triple, and six RBIs in those three games.
"I was just trying to get good pitches to hit and not do too much," said Smith of his weekend. "A lot of times in games like these when everyone seems to be hitting the ball you'll start to expand and try to do too much. I just tried to stay within myself and do what I could do."
It wasn't just Smith who piled up the hits this weekend, either, as Sacramento State put up 33 runs on 37 hits in just 21 innings of play. Ian Dawkins also had six hits in the series, while four others tallied four hits.
"Hitting is very contagious," added Smith. "Seeing your teammates have success really gives you a vote of confidence and the feeling in the clubhouse is great. We all know if we don't get the job done, the guy behind us is going to do it."
Sacramento State continued to pile on in Sunday's game, scoring two more in the fourth, another in the fifth, and five in the sixth to make it a 10-0 game. The fifth inning scoring started on Smith's RBI-double before PJ Floyd hit a two-run home run, his fifth of the season. Dawkins capped the scoring with a two-out, two-run double to left.
"We're on a little bit of a roll but we need to stay focused," acknowledged Smith. "We need to keep having good practices and carry this with us into Tuesday and past that."
A 'bit of a roll' may be putting it lightly, as Sacramento State forced all three games of the series to end early, leading by 10 or more after six and a half innings in each.
"This weekend was well-played in all facets of the game," said head coach Reggie Christiansen after completing the sweep. "Recently we've been hitting on all cylinders and even after seven in a row it just still feels good to win."
With the three-game sweep over Chicago State, the Hornets have now won seven straight games. After playing to a 5-10 record over the season's first 15 games, Sacramento State has now won 11 of their last 15. During that 15-game stretch, they are 5-0 at home and 6-4 on the road.
"There's a different feeling in the clubhouse," added Christiansen. "The confidence is certainly building. Our non-conference schedule ended up being more difficult than we expected and unfortunately we got off to a rough start, especially offensively. But some changes have been made. (Hitting) Coach Wheeler and the guys have really worked hard, and you're starting to see that pay off."
At 16-14, the Hornets are two games over .500 for the first time this season. Meanwhile, they improved to 5-1 in conference play, good for second in the WAC as of Sunday afternoon.
Sacramento State has a day off tomorrow before they host Pacific in a midweek, non-conference matchup on Tuesday evening. Ty Fox is slated to make the start for Sacramento State with first pitch scheduled for 6:00 pm PDT. The game can be heard live online both via HornetSports.com/radio (audio only) and via WACSports.com/watch (video and audio).