OFFENSE ERUPTS IN 11-7 BASEBALL VICTORY OVER DALLAS BAPTIST
DALLAS — Justin Higley collected three of Sacramento State's 13 hits, including a three-run home run in the ninth inning to help Sacramento State to an 11-7 win over Dallas Baptist on Saturday at Horner Ballpark.
The victory returned the Hornets to a winning record (14-13) and moved the team to 2-4 in Western Athletic Conference games. DBU dropped to 16-12 overall and 4-2 in league play.
Sacramento State never trailed in the game but saw Dallas Baptist tie the contest after the second and seventh innings. After Austin Listi's two-out three-run home run tied the game, 7-7, in the seventh, Sacramento State answered with a sacrifice fly from Andrew Ayers to score David Del Grande from third base for the decisive run.
"That was the biggest win of the year for us," Sacramento State head coach Reggie Christiansen said. "We got ourselves in a whole in conference against two of the better teams in the league but (the players) came out with the same attitude today they've had all year."
The Hornets were able to add some insurance in the ninth inning as with two out and no one on, Dane Fujinaka singled off the third baseman and Del Grande lined a single to right. Higley followed with a high home run to right for his team-leading third round-tripper of the year.
Freshman Sutter McLoughlin took the mound in the ninth and retired the heart of the Patriot order to seal the victory.
Sacramento State scored the first run of the game on a single through the left side of the infield by Chris Lewis. The team pushed the lead to 2-0 in the second when Ayers singled to right to plate Will Soto.
However, the team combined to leave five runners on base in those two innings and saw its lead disappear in the bottom of the second when KJ Alexander hit a two-run home run to left.
Both starters settled down, holding the opposition scoreless for the next three innings. The Hornets, again, used a two-out rally in sixth with a single to center from Scotty Burcham getting things started. Will Soto followed with a shot up the middle which moved Burcham to third before Fujinaka doubled just past the diving third baseman to score both runs. The catcher was able to advance to third on the throw to the plate and stole home during the next at-bat, just beating the tag at the plate to give Sacramento State a 6-2 lead.
DBU responded with two runs in the bottom of the inning to pull back within one, 5-4. Those runs were matched by a two-run no doubt HR by Lewis but the Hornets could not do further damage, leaving the bases loaded.
A day after all nine starters recorded a hit, Sacramento State had eight players with at least one knock on Saturday. The group was led by Higley who was 3-for-5 with three runs scored and three RBIs. Lewis, Soto and Fujinaka also provided a pair of base hits.
"The difference for us today was that we were finally able to drive the ball," Christiansen said. "Yesterday we had a lot of singles but today we were able to get the big hit."
Tanner Mendonca lasted 5.2 innings and gave up four runs with four strikeouts and five walks but did not factor in the decision. Despite allowing the home run to Listi, Brandon Creel earned the victory and is now 3-1 on the year. Tyler Hoelzen pitched a scoreless eighth before handing over to McLoughlin.
Sacramento State has a five-game homestand next week beginning with non-league games against UC Davis and San Francisco on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. The team will will then host Texas State from Friday-Sunday.