SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Chris Lewis went 4-for-4 and Justin Higley hit a three-run home run as Sacramento State clinched the series against Texas State with a 7-5 victory on Saturday at John Smith Field.
The Hornets defeated the Bobcats for the second consecutive day and now sit at 17-14 overall and 4-4 in the Western Athletic Conference. Texas State fell to 12-18 overall and 5-3 in league games.
For the second straight day, Sacramento State jumped to a quick lead, scoring two runs in the first, three in the second and two in the fourth. Five Hornet pitchers worked out of trouble throughout the late innings to secure the victory. Junior starter Tanner Mendonca (1-3) earned his first win of the year after throwing five innings and allowing only one run with five hits, five walks and four strikeouts.
"We started talking about how we win 78 percent of the time when we score six or more runs and how we win 72 percent of the time when we score first," Sacramento State head coach Reggie Christiansen said. "We stressed that we need to be ready to win in the first inning and not wait for things to happen. Today was much better."
In the first inning, Andrew Ayers led off with a double down the left field line and later scored on a single from Lewis. Rhys Hoskins who singled in between the two, scored the second run of the inning when he advanced on a wild pitch.
With one out in the third inning, Hoskins and Lewis each singled before Higley hit his fourth home run of the year. The latest version sailed just to the center field side of the 375-foot sign in right center field. The team added to its lead in the fourth when Ayers drove in Scotty Burcham with a single to left and Lewis singled to center to plate Ayers.
Texas State began to nibble away at the deficit with a run in the fifth and two in the sixth. The Bobcats made the score, 7-4, with a run in the eighth inning and loaded the bases before Brandon Creel was summoned from the bullpen. Creel went to a 3-2 count against Garrett Mattlage before forcing a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
An unearned run in the ninth accounted for the final run of the contest as Sutter McLoughlin picked up his seventh save of the season.
Lewis joined Will Soto as the only Hornets to collect four hits in a game this season. The redshirt freshman has raised his average to .339 and has reached safely in 22 consecutive games.
"He's proven me wrong," Christiansen said. "I suggested that he go to junior college (last year) and he told me he wasn't going anywhere. He's been our best hitter this year."
The series wraps up on Sunday at noon.