BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – Sacramento State turned a late 3-3 tie into a 10-3 blowout win with a seven-run eighth inning, defeating Bakersfield in the first of three games in the weekend WAC series. The Hornets improved to 13-3 in the WAC and 26-16 overall while dropping the Roadrunners to 16-24 and 8-8 in conference play.
The seven-run eighth inning began with a quick out before a double, a single, and a strikeout in which the batter reached on a wild pitch. The Hornets followed with five straight singles and an RBI groundout, sending 11 men to the plate in the inning to blow the game open.
Five Sacramento State players had multi-hit games, led by a 3-for-4 line and three RBIs from senior Will Soto. Every Hornet starter had a hit in the game and eight of the nine scored at least one run. Junior Brennan Leitao improved to 6-3 overall and 5-0 in the WAC allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits, no walks, and five strikeouts over seven innings.
Neither team advanced a runner past second base over the first three innings but both broke through in the fourth. Hornet sophomore Nathan Lukes opened the inning with a single and advanced to third with two away before consecutive RBI hits from seniors David Del Grande and Soto pushed across two runs. The Roadrunners then scored an unearned run in the bottom of the inning to make the score 2-1.
Sacramento State squandered a leadoff double in the fifth but in the sixth inning the visitors manufactured a run off a lead-off single from junior Rhys Hoskins and a sacrifice fly from Soto. Bakersfield began the bottom of the inning with consecutive doubles and got a two-out RBI single as well to tie the score prior to the Hornet offensive explosion in the eighth.
The game was the seventh time in 16 WAC games that the Hornets won by seven or more runs and the fifth time in conference play that the squad scored double-digit runs. Leitao, junior Alex Palsha, and freshman Austin Ragsdale combined for nine strikeouts with just one walk in the game. Bakersfield starter Taylor Aikenhead was strong through seven innings but ended up being charged with five runs over 7.1 innings while reliever Max Carter had the five other Hornet runs on his stat line.
The teams meet again in Bakersfield at 6 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.