SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Junior Rhys Hoskins continued his torrid start to WAC play going 3-for-3 with 2 RBIs and freshman Jared Paderez allowed just two hits and no earned runs over 6.2 innings to lead Sacramento State to a 4-3 win over Seattle U on Sunday.
The Hornets (20-11, 9-0 WAC) remained undefeated in conference play and ran their winning streak to 12 games, the longest active winning streak in all of NCAA Div. I and just four wins short of the program-record streak. Sacramento State beat Seattle U (11-15, 3-3 WAC) by a 4-3 score for the second consecutive day after the 15-inning contest on Saturday ended 4-3.
"I told the team that was the best three-game sweep since I've been here in six years," head coach Reggie Christiansen said. "We played really well on Friday, found a way to squeak it out in 15 yesterday, and to come back in here today really thin on the mound and get a win was great. Jared Paderez has been up and down and he gave us an unbelievable effort today, and with Sutter not available we needed Alex Palsha to get us four outs and he did. It takes 31 guys to do what we are doing now and its fun to be a part of it."
Redshirt freshman Justin Dillon started the contest in a planned one-inning outing, allowing one run on two hits. Paderez then went 6.2 and allowed just two hits, two walks, and two unearned runs. Palsha got the final out in the eighth and two quick outs in the ninth before a Hornet fielding error, but with the tying run aboard he got the following hitter on a soft lineout for his second save of the season.
Just three of the seven total runs scored in the game were earned as the teams combined for five errors. After scoring an earned run in the top of the first the Redhawks doubled their lead with a runner scoring from second on a grounder misplayed by freshman Brandon Hunley that ricocheted into left field.
The visitors maintained a 2-0 lead into the fourth inning, but the Hornets opened the inning with three straight singles, including an RBI knock from senior Will Soto, and another single loaded the bases for freshman Gunner Pollman. The Hornets attempted a suicide squeeze but the bunt was missed, and when catcher Michael McCann chased Hoskins back to third base Seattle U third baseman Brock Carpenter misplayed McCann's throw to allow Hoskins to come in with the tying run.
To open the bottom of the fifth inning sophomore Nathan Lukes reached on an error, advanced to second on a bunt and to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a sacrifice fly to left by Hoskins. Two innings later, junior Kyle Moses walked and stole second ahead of an RBI single from Hoskins to make the Hornet lead 4-2.
Seattle U benefited from a Hornet fielding error and a walk to put two aboard with nobody out in the top of the eighth, but Paderez limited the damage to a sacrifice fly and Palsha got the last out of the inning to maintain the Hornet advantage before finishing the win in the ninth.
With the victory Sacramento State improved to 17-0 this season when leading after six innings. Seattle U starter Connor Moore threw 125 pitches over seven innings of work, allowing four runs (two earned) on just eight hits and one walk with four strikeouts. A double by Hoskins in the second inning was the only extra base hit in the game while junior Scotty Burcham was the only other player to record multiple hits in the game, going 2-for-4.
Hoskins is now hitting .528 with 20 RBIs and a .578 on-base percentage through nine WAC games. As a team Sacramento State is hitting .346 against WAC opposition while its pitchers have a 1.78 ERA, allowing only 16 earned runs in nine games.
After playing 12 of their last 15 games at home, the Hornets will play their next five contests on the road, starting with a non-conference game at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Pacific before a three-game set at Grand Canyon.