SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Utah senior lefty Tanner Banks allowed just one unearned run and two hits with nine strikeouts over seven innings and the Utes struck for a pair of runs in the sixth and seventh to top Sacramento State 2-1 on Saturday at John Smith Field.
The Utes (1-1) evened the four-game season-opening series at one game apiece after the Hornets (1-1) claimed a 3-2 win on Friday. Utah had eight hits in the game and scored twice off Hornet junior starter Brennan Leitao, who turned in a solid performance allowing just six hits and two walks with four strikeouts over seven innings.
The game was scoreless through the first five innings as the teams combined for just six total base runners. In the top of the sixth, Utah's Cory Hunt drew a one-out walk and stole second before being driven home by catcher Konnor Armijo, who was cut down at second trying to stretch his base hit to a double.
Utah senior Tyler Yagi opened the seventh inning with a double to left and stole third base with nobody out. Designated hitter AJ Young, who went 3-for-3 in the game, followed with an RBI single to extend the Utah lead to 2-0.
The Hornets were able to get a run back in the seventh following a leadoff walk drawn by junior first baseman Rhys Hoskins. A passed ball got Hoskins to second and he advanced to third on a fly out to right from sophomore Chris Lewis. Senior third baseman Will Soto then sent a fly ball to right that brought home Hoskins to make it a 2-1 ball game.
Sacramento State got a leadoff single from David Del Grande to open the home half of the eighth and he made his way to third with two outs before a strikeout ended the inning. In the ninth, Lewis drew a two-out walk but was picked off of first to end the game.
Utah senior lefty Nick Green recorded the final four outs of the game to earn the save. The Hornets had just three at bats in the game against right-handed pitching as Utah righty Zach Adams got the first two outs of the eighth before Green came in.
Del Grande, designated hitter Clay Cederquist, and catcher Dane Fujinaka had the lone hits for the Hornets. Sacramento State freshman pitcher Julian Barron made his collegiate debut in a scoreless eighth inning and junior Alex Palsha recorded his second scoreless inning in as many days in the ninth.
The series continues Sunday at 2 p.m. as Hornet freshman Jared Paderez is expected to make his first career start and be opposed by Utah sophomore Dalton Carroll.