SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Sacramento State baseball team took the field Tuesday night against the Pacific Tigers looking to win their eighth straight game, but instead found themselves on the wrong side of a 14-7 slugfest. A big fourth inning for the Tigers put the Hornets in a hole they were unable to overcome.
The inning started nicely enough for the Hornets (16-15, 5-1 WAC) as right-hander Alex Dentoni coaxed two weak groundouts around a double to get two easy outs in the inning. From there, however, Pacific (13-18, 4-8 WCC) put together six straight hits, including a home run and two doubles to score six runs, all with two outs.
The breakout inning gave the Tigers a 9-3 lead and although the Hornets offense never went away, they were unable to overcome the six-run deficit, eventually falling 14-7.
"Games like this happen once or twice a year and it just so happened that tonight was that game for us," said head coach Reggie Christiansen after the tough loss. "We're going to turn our focus to this week, having good practices, and getting ready for Northern Colorado this weekend."
Despite the one-sided score, there were a number of bright spots for the Hornets, who fall to 16-15 overall on the season while maintaining their 5-1 Western Athletic Conference record.
With two runs already in, Austin Ragsdale took over for starter Ty Fox with one out and the bases loaded in the top of the first inning. Ragsdale struck out his first batter before getting an easy fly ball to center to escape the jam and limit the early Pacific offense. Ragsdale pitched another scoreless inning, striking out one more.
With the 1.2 scoreless innings Tuesday night, Ragsdale has now thrown 12.2 innings in relief without allowing a run.
"Ragsdale did a really nice job," said Christiansen. "He hasn't allowed a run out of the pen yet this season."
The only runs the veteran reliever has allowed all came in his one spot start this season (March 8 at Santa Clara). Of his 15 inherited runners this season, only four have come around to score.
The offense as a whole put forth a strong effort, scoring seven runs on 11 hits, including six extra-base hits.
Three of those six extra-base hits came off the bat of Matt Smith, who continued to stay hot at the plate. The sophomore outfielder finished a triple shy of the cycle, going 4-for-5 with a home run, two doubles, four RBIs, and two runs scored.
Over his last five games, Smith has 12 hits in 18 at bats, good for a .667 average. He also has four walks, bringing his on-base percentage in the last five games to an incredible .727. He has four doubles, a triple, and a home run and is slugging 1.167 in those five games.
For the season, Smith leads the team with a .367 batting average, a .556 slugging percentage, and a .449 on-base percentage.
Ian Dawkins hit his third home run of the season, an eighth inning shot down the left field line that just did stay fair. It was one of two hits on the night for the senior centerfielder.
With the loss, Sacramento State falls to 16-15 on the season and 9-7 at home. Their seven-game win streak came to an end, though they still have three more home games before heading back on the road.
The Hornets will next take the field on Friday, April 13 as they welcome WAC opponent, Northern Colorado, to John Smith Field. First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 6:00 pm PDT.