SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento State scored three runs in the fourth inning, five runs in the fifth inning, and eight runs in the sixth to earn a 7-inning 16-1 mercy rule victory over Northern Colorado on Saturday at John Smith Field.
The game was scoreless through 3 1/3 innings before the Hornet onslaught. Sacramento State (11-11, 2-0 WAC) scored its 16 runs on 15 hits as Northern Colorado (5-18, 0-2 WAC) issued nine walks, hit two batters, and committed two errors. The Hornets have outscored the Bears 25-3 through the first two games of the weekend series.
Junior Rhys Hoskins ignited the scoring with a solo homerun to left on the first pitch he saw leading off the fourth inning. After consecutive one-out walks sophomore catcher Dane Fujinaka laced a single to left to score a run and freshman Brandon Hunley followed with an RBI single down the left field line to give Sacramento State a 3-0 lead.
The Hornets batted around in the 3-run fourth inning and did the same in the fifth. Hoskins led off with a double followed by a single by Clay Cederquist and a walk to load the bases. Fujinaka singled home another run to make it 4-0, then Northern Colorado pitcher Kevin Willman walked Scott Loper, David Del Grande, and Nathan Lukes in succession to push home three more runs. Dan Talley relieved Willman and immediately walked Hoskins to score another run before finally recording the third out of the inning.
The Bears pushed across a run following a lead off double and sacrifice fly in the top of the sixth but the floodgates remained open in the bottom of the inning. The Hornets scored two runs on sacrifice flies by Fujinaka and Kyle Moses, Del Grande had another RBI walk, and Lukes, Hoskins, junior Scotty Burcham, and freshman Gunner Pollman each had RBI hits as the Hornets totaled eight runs on seven hits, a walk, a hit batter, and two Bear errors in the inning.
Sacramento State freshman right hander Chad Perry set the Bears down in order in the top of seventh to close out the win. Freshman Sam Long lowered his season ERA to 2.17 and improved to 3-0 on the season pitching five innings and allowing no runs and just two hits. Northern Colorado starter Josh Tinnon was tagged for six runs in 4.1 innings and four Bear relievers combined to allow 10 runs in just 1.2 innings.
Hoskins was 4-for-4 in the game with 3 RBIs and 3 runs scored. Lukes and Fujinaka also drove in three runs and Fujinaka and Hunley had two hits while seven Hornets recorded one hit in the game, including the first career hit for Pollman. The Bears tallied just four hits in the game and have now been outscored 70-6 over their last five games.
Sacramento State goes for the sweep at 1 p.m. Sunday with junior Dallas Chadwick to face Northern Colorado senior Chris Hammer.