SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Sacramento State baseball team needed just two pitchers to take game three of this weekend series, 5-0, from Northern Colorado. Scott Randall and Austin Roberts combined to throw Sacramento State's seventh shutout of the season.
Randall got the start for Sacramento State (18-16, 7-2 WAC), his ninth of the season. The freshman right-hander got off to a bit of a rocky start, loading the bases in the first inning on a hit, a walk, and his own error, but struck out Northern Colorado's (20-16, 4-8 WAC) Tyler Yamaguchi to escape the jam.
From there, the Rocklin native settled in, scattering four hits across the next three innings without issuing another walk. In total, Randall threw four innings, allowed five hits, walked one, and struck out six. The six strikeouts matched his career high (last, March 9 at Santa Clara).
"Scott was good today, especially getting himself out of that jam early on," said head coach Reggie Christiansen after the game. "He pitched great in the rest of his innings, but his pitch count got a little higher than we would have liked."
Despite throwing four shutout innings, Randall gave way to Austin Robert out of the bullpen for the fifth. Roberts, who hadn't pitched more than two innings this season before today, was brilliant over a season-high five innings.
"We really were only looking for Austin to go two or three innings today," Christiansen noted, "But he was cruising so we stayed with him."
A sophomore, Roberts made 14 starts last season as a freshman, and has the ability to throw multiple good innings. Today, he was perfect through his first four innings, retiring the first 13 hitters he saw in order. A one-out double in the ninth snapped that streak, but he worked around the hit to seal the win.
"That was probably the best I've seen him pitch in a Sacramento State uniform," added Christiansen.
"I was just trying to get ahead," Roberts said after the outing. "The slider was working really well today and I was able to throw it for a strike and get ahead of hitters."
The shutout win is the seventh this season for Sacramento State, most in the WAC and tied for second most in all of NCAA Div. I. Of those seven shutout wins, four have come against conference opponents.
Offensively, the Hornets did all of their scoring Sunday afternoon in a wild first inning, scoring five runs on just one hit. They drew four walks, including three to start the game, and took advantage of two big Northern Colorado errors and a wild pitch.
In total, Sacramento State had just two hits in the game, both off the bat of freshman third baseman Steven Moretto, who finished the contest 2-for-4 with an RBI. The two total hits are the fewest in a game this season for Sacramento State.
Despite the overall lack of offensive production Sunday, the Hornets clinched the series win over Northern Colorado. They improved to 18-16 overall and 7-2 against WAC opponents.
Over their last 15 games, Sacramento State is 10-5, including 6-2 at home.
"Everybody is coming up in big situations and the energy is great," said Roberts of the team's recent success, which includes a season-best seven-game win streak. "On the field and in the dugout, the energy has been amazing these last two weeks.
"We just need to keep it rolling."
The Hornets will look to do just that as they next take the field on Tuesday in a road matchup against cross-town rivals, the UC Davis Aggies. Tuesday's game is scheduled for a 2:30 pm PDT first pitch as the Aggies' Dobbins Baseball Complex. Travis Martizia is expected to get the start for Sacramento State.