LEITAO'S GEM, DEFENSE HELP BASEBALL COMPLETE SWEEP OF TEXAS STATE WITH 1-0 VICTORY
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Brennan Leitao threw 8-plus innings and allowed just three hits and the Hornet defense made plays in the clutch to lift Sacramento State to a 1-0 win over Texas State on Sunday at John Smith Field. The win completed the series sweep for the Hornets (18-13, 5-4) who won for the fifth time in their last six games.
Leitao did not allow a hit until there were two outs in the seventh inning when Cody Lovejoy lined a single over the hurlers head. After a scoreless eighth, which included a diving catch by Nathan Lukes on the right-field foul line, Leitao took the mound in the ninth looking for the Hornets' first complete game of the season.
Instead, a leadoff double from Morgan Mickan to center and a walk to Garrett Mattlage ended Leitao's day as we gave way to freshman Sutter McLoughlin. Designated hitter Andrew Stumph advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt back to McLoughlin for the first out. Lovejoy was then walked intentionally to load the bases for Colby Targun. On an 0-1 pitch, Targun floated a ball into shallow right field which was caught over-the-shoulder by Sacramento State second baseman Andrew Ayers. Mickan tagged on the play and was thrown out at the plate by Ayers.
"Andrew has as good of instincts as any player I've ever coached," Sacramento State head coach Reggie Christiansen said. "He knew the situation and Dane (Fujinaka) did a great job of blocking the plate."
Leitao improved to 3-2 on the season and was part of his second shutout of the year. McLoughlin picked up his eighth save of the season, and fourth of the week. The true freshman is now tied for fourth in school single-season history and matched R.J. Davis' team-leading total from a year ago.
"Brennan was outstanding and it was not even a thought of not bringing him out for the ninth inning," Christiansen said. "Sutter came in and got out of a jam like he has before and its a huge win for our program."
Sacramento State scored the game's only run in the first inning with the help of three singles. Lukes began the rally with a one-out single to left and moved to third on a hit from Rhys Hoskins. Chris Lewis, picked up his fifth hit in as many at-bats, with a drive to left center to plate Lukes.
Lukes and Lewis each finished with a pair of hits to lead Sacramento State. Lewis finished the series 7-for-12 and has now reached base in 23 consecutive games. Lukes also had success all weekend, going 6-for-11 and score a pair of runs.
The Hornets will face Simpson in a non-league game on Tuesday at John Smith Field. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.