BASEBALL FENDS OFF LATE BAKERSFIELD RALLY, WINS SATURDAY, 10-7

BASEBALL FENDS OFF LATE BAKERSFIELD RALLY, WINS SATURDAY, 10-7

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento State (20-10, 6-2 WAC) jumped out to a commanding 9-0 lead Saturday afternoon against the visiting CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners (15-17, 3-5 WAC), but were unable to slow the 'Runners as they clawed their way back into the game. Ultimately, the Hornets were able to shut the door, defeating Bakersfield, 10-7, at John Smith Field.

It was all Sacramento State early as the Hornets jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning. Matt Smith tripled to lead off the game before scoring the first run of the day on a Dawsen Bacho base hit.

In total Saturday, Smith finished a single shy of the cycle, going 3-for-3 with a double, triple, a two-run home run, and two hit by pitches.

"It felt good to help the team out," said Smith of his Saturday performance. "I'm just trying to see the ball down and put a good swing on it."

In his last two games, Smith is 6-for-7 with two home runs, a triple, a double, six runs scored, and four RBIs. In conference play this year (eight games) Smith is hitting a team-high .438 with eight extra-base hits and an .844 slugging percentage.

After Smith's leadoff triple led to four Hornets runs, Sacramento State scored again in the second as Smith stole third then took home on an errant throw.

Up 5-0, the Hornets continued to pile on with four more runs in the fifth. Smith's two-out, two-run blast to left center was the big hit of the inning and capped the four-run frame.

Down 9-0, CSU Bakersfield refused to give in, however, and finally broke through in the top of the sixth against Hornets starter Scott Randall. Randall, who picked up his team-leading fifth win of the season on Saturday, threw five scoreless innings before the 'Runners put a four-spot on the board in the sixth.

From there, Bakersfield added another three runs in the seventh inning against the Sacramento State bullpen to make it a two-run game, 9-7.

"They're a good team, credit to them," said Smith after the game. "They kept fighting the entire time and never gave up, even down 9-0."

Despite cutting the deficit to just two runs, Bakersfield never managed close the gap. They left the bases loaded in the eighth as Brady Rodriguez pitched the Hornets out of a jam.

The Hornets added an insurance run in the eighth as a Keith Torres sacrifice fly scored Smith, making it a 10-7 game. Closer Tanner Dalton retired the 'Runners in order in the ninth to secure the win and pick up his third save of the year.

"It wasn't a pretty win, but you'll take those ones," said head coach Reggie Christiansen after the game.  "They're certainly a good team, tough to pitch too, and they battled to get back in this game today."

In the end, Sacramento State held on for the 10-7 win and clinched the series victory against CSU Bakersfield. They'll have a chance for their third sweep of the season tomorrow.

"I told our guys at the end, it's hard to win a conference series in any conference, and we just did that today," added Christiansen. "Now we're going to have to dig deep and find a way to take tomorrow to win all three."

Tomorrow's series finale is set for a noon first pitch at John Smith Field. Brady Rodriguez is expected to take the mound for Sacramento State and will go up against CSU Bakersfield's Edgar Barclay. Tomorrow's game will stream live online on the WAC Digital Network.

For more details on tomorrow's game and all upcoming games, be sure to visit the 2019 Hornet Baseball Schedule online at HornetSports.com.