LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Sacramento State scored three runs in the first inning and never looked back as junior Brennan Leitao threw six strong innings and the Hornets totaled 11 hits and seven walks in an 8-2 win on Friday night in Las Cruces.
Sacramento State (14-11, 4-0 WAC) posted its sixth consecutive win, the longest winning streak the team has had since 2009. The 4-0 start to WAC play is the best in the program's 13 years in the conference and the team won its road conference opener for the first time since 2008. New Mexico State (10-15, 2-2 WAC) has lost its last three home games against Sacramento State.
Junior Rhys Hoskins was the offensive star for the Hornets on Friday, going 3-for-4 from the cleanup spot with two doubles and three RBIs. Left fielder Kyle Moses also had three hits and was one of five Hornets in the game to drive in one run. Leitao scattered eight hits over six innings while allowing two runs and striking out six while junior Alex Palsha and sophomore Sutter McLoughlin continued their brilliant relief work with three more scoreless innings.
Hoskins doubled home the first two runs of the game with one away in the top of the first. Senior Will Soto followed with an RBI double of his own to make it 3-0, but in the bottom of the first the Aggies tallied two singles and a hit-by-pitch to load the bases with nobody out. Leitao was able to limit the damage to two runs, while striking out the side, as the visitors led 3-2 after one.
Moses drove home a run with a two-out single in the second to put the Hornets back up by two. In the fourth inning New Mexico State recorded two quick outs before a Moses single, a walk to David Del Grande, the second RBI double by Hoskins, and an RBI single from redshirt freshman Ryan Locke pushed the Hornet advantage to 6-2.
Sacramento State scored another 2-out run on an RBI knock from sophomore Nathan Lukes in the fifth and tacked on an eighth run on a single from sophomore Dane Fujinaka in the ninth. After Palsha threw two scoreless innings McLoughlin gave up a pair of hits in the ninth but stranded runners on second and third to extend his scoreless streak to 24 consecutive innings dating back to last season.
Senior lefthander Christopher Bradley started and took the loss for the Aggies, allowing seven runs (four earned) on six hits and five walks over 4.0 innings. New Mexico State had 11 hits in the game but left 12 runners on base and didn't help its cause by committing three errors defensively. Each team had three hits apiece from both their second and fourth-place hitters.
Game two at Presley Askew Field will be at 5:05 p.m. Pacific time Saturday with Hornet freshman Sam Long to face Aggie junior Billy Conrad.