WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento State used a six-run third inning to open up a big lead on San Francisco early and five Hornet pitchers held the Dons to just four hits in the game in an 8-4 win on Wednesday night at Raley Field.
The Hornets led 8-1 through three innings and held on for a comfortable victory. Sacramento State (17-11) won its ninth straight game, extending the longest winning streak for the program since 1992, and improved to 4-0 this season at Raley Field and 6-0 in midweek games. San Francisco (13-14) had won two of three games in a split home-and-home series against the Hornets during the first weekend of March.
San Francisco starter Brock Larson simply could not throw strikes as he lasted just 18 pitches, only five of which were strikes, and walked three men with two wild pitches before being relieved. His first wild pitch brought home sophomore Nathan Lukes with first run and sophomore Chris Lewis hit a sacrifice fly off reliever Sheldon Lee to give the Hornets an early 2-0 lead.
After a leadoff walk in the top of the second, San Francisco third baseman Bob Cruickshank hit a deep fly ball to left that was caught reaching over the wall by Hornet left fielder Kyle Moses, the second homerun he has brought back this season. The out did go as a sacrifice fly as the Hornet lead was cut to 2-1.
The Hornets were held in check in the second inning, but in the third the squad would send 10 men to the plate. A single by junior Rhys Hoskins and a 2-run homer to right by senior Will Soto pushed across the first two runs of the inning. An RBI single from freshman Brandon Hunley, a 2-run double from Lukes, and an RBI single from senior David Del Grande added to the scoring as the team totaled six runs on five hits, one walk, and one error in the inning.
San Francisco got one run back in the fourth, another in the fifth on a home run by Bradley Zimmer, and pushed across a fourth run in the ninth inning but never truly threatened to get within striking distance of the Hornet lead.
Redshirt freshman Justin Dillon earned his first collegiate win in his longest outing, throwing 3.2 innings on a pitch count and allowing two runs on just one hit. Relievers Hunter Greenwood, Chad Perry, Alex Palsha, and Sutter McLoughlin combined to allow just two runs on three hits over 5.1 innings of relief. The run scored by USF in the ninth inning was the first McLoughlin has allowed this year and broke a 24-inning scoreless streak the preseason All-American had recorded dating back to last season.
Hunley finished 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored and Moses went 2-for-4 while Soto and Lukes each drove in two runs. Hunley pushed his team-best hitting streak to nine games and Hoskins has now reached base in 17 consecutive contests. No Don player had more than one hit as the team used 14 position players and seven pitchers in the contest, with the starter Larson taking the loss after recording just one out.
The Hornets resume WAC play this weekend hosting Seattle U at John Smith Field. Game times are 3:00 p.m. Friday, 2:00 p.m. Saturday, and 12:00 p.m. Sunday.