SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Freshman Brandon Hunley and senior David Del Grande each homered as Sacramento State scored a season high nine runs and opened Western Athletic Conference (WAC) play with a 9-2 win over Northern Colorado on Friday at John Smith Field.
"We've been playing soccer lately, scoring just a couple goals at a time so it was nice to score some runs," head coach Reggie Christiansen said. "The guys came out and were swinging the bats well and we just stuck to our plan and came out on top today. Any way we score runs is good to see, but David got on that ball and Brandon hit his second home run so that was awesome."
Del Grande and redshirt freshman Ryan Locke each had three hits in the game as Sacramento State (10-11, 1-0 WAC) equaled its season high of 14 hits. Northern Colorado (5-17, 0-1 WAC) lost its first WAC conference game after joining the conference for the 2014 season.
Hunley and sophomore Dane Fujinaka each had two hits in the contest and the team stole a season-best four bases. Junior starter Brennan Leitao earned the win, allowing just two runs and striking out four over seven innings of work.
Hunley got the Hornets on the board first with a solo shot to left in the third inning, hitting his second home run of the season. Northern Colorado came back with two runs in the top of the fourth off three hits before the Hornets tied it back up at 2-2 in the bottom of the fourth.
Sacramento State went back ahead on an RBI single by Locke in the fifth. The Hornets then blew the game open in the seventh using three hits, a walk, and two stolen bases to pull ahead 7-2. Del Grande made it 8-2 with his solo home run in the eighth and Locke doubled home another run to give the Hornets their final winning total.
Northern Colorado freshman starter Connor Leedholm went three innings, allowing two earned runs on seven hits, and reliever Lucas Corrick allowed three runs over 3.1 innings and took the loss. Junior Alex Palsha and freshman Sterling Humphry threw scoreless eighth and ninth innings, respectively, to complete the Hornet win.
Game two of the weekend series will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday at John Smith Field. Freshman lefty Sam Long will make the start for the Hornets and will be opposed by Northern Colorado senior right-hander Josh Tinnon.