LAS CRUCES, N.M. – An unprecedented offensive run continued for Sacramento State as the Hornets clubbed five home runs, including two grand slams from freshman Brandon Hunley and senior Will Soto, in a 20-6 win in seven innings over New Mexico State, the second straight mercy rule win for the Hornets.
Sacramento State (16-11, 6-0 WAC) outscored New Mexico State (10-17, 2-4 WAC) 39-8 over a three game sweep and is now averaging 11.2 runs per game through six WAC games, three of which have ended via the mercy rule after seven innings. The eight game winning streak for the Hornets is the longest since the 1992 team won 16 consecutive games. Sacramento State had hit four home runs through the first 20 games of the season and has hit 12 long balls over seven games since.
"We felt like once we got to conference things were going to start going our way," head coach Reggie Christiansen said. "We faced such good pitching early on with the schedule that we put in front of us that when conference came around we would be more prepared. It has certainly worked out well so far."
In addition to the grand slams by Soto and Hunley, which came in the third and seventh innings, respectively, Rhys Hoskins had a 3-run shot in the first inning, Kyle Moses had a solo home run in the fourth, and David Del Grande hit a 2-run homer in the sixth.
The Hornets also scored runs on an RBI double from sophomore Dane Fujinaka in the third inning, an RBI single from junior Scotty Burcham in the sixth, and Del Grande and Burcham singles as well as a sacrifice fly from sophomore Chris Lewis in the seventh before the Hunley grand slam. Eight of the 20 runs the Hornets scored were unearned as the Aggies committed three errors in the contest.
Freshman Chad Perry made his first career start for Sacramento State and allowed just one run over a planned three-inning outing to earn the win. Four Hornet relievers followed Perry and freshman Jared Paderez threw two scoreless innings to close out the game. New Mexico State Junior starter Robert Kraft was torched for seven runs, five of them earned, over 2.1 innings to take the loss as each of the five Aggie pitchers used in the game allowed runs.
"Of course our offense was great but I'm really proud of how we pitched throughout the series as well," Christiansen said. "People are going to talk about our offense and how many runs we scored and you have to give those guys credit but our pitchers really did an unbelievable job as well."
Burcham was 4-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs, Del Grande was 3-for-3 with three RBIs, while Hoskins, Soto, Moses, and sophomore Nathan Lukes each had two hits. Eight Hornets drove in runs with Soto and Hunley leading with the four RBIs apiece off their grand slams. The Hornets hit .459 with a .543 on-base percentage in the game.
Over a dominant three-game sweep over the Aggies Sacramento State hit .400 with seven home runs, eight doubles, and a triple while drawing 16 walks. New Mexico State pitchers had a 10.96 ERA and the team allowed 11 unearned runs, committing eight errors, while it hit just .242 offensively.
Sacramento State returns home for its next four contests starting with a game vs. San Francisco at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday at Raley Field.