SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Sacramento State sophomore closer Sutter McLoughlin recorded his ninth save of the season and the 26th of his career, tying for the program record for career saves, and closed out a 3-2 Hornet win on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep of Chicago State.
Prior to Sunday McLoughlin had just two save opportunities over the last 25 Hornet games and none since April 12th. He had seven saves over the first 24 games of the year, and with a program-record 17 saves last season McLoughlin has now tied former Hornet Mike Frame for the career saves record.
"Its pretty awesome, I'm not going to lie," said McLoughlin, who actually pitched the last three innings of the game on Sunday and did not allow a hit in his longest career save. "To be able to do something that nobody's done before is pretty cool and it's a good feeling. (The lack of save opportunities) has been a little frustrating personally, but its good from a team standpoint that we're doing so well we are getting big wins."
With the win Sacramento State (31-18, 17-4 WAC) completed its fourth WAC series sweep this season and improved to 11-1 against conference opposition on its home field. Chicago State (14-31, 3-15 WAC) got its best pitching performance of the weekend from junior starter Dane Mehring but could not hold on to an early lead.
The Cougars jumped to a 1-0 advantage in the second inning when catcher Robert Swenson drove in freshman Sanford Hunt with a two-out double. Sacramento State pulled even in the bottom of the fifth, as senior Will Soto led off with a double and, with two away, sophomore Dane Fujinaka brought him home with an RBI single.
Chicago State regained the lead in the top of the sixth following a leadoff double and a sacrifice fly from Hunt, but it was a short-lived advantage. In the bottom of the sixth Hornet junior Kyle Moses reached on a one-out single and, after a walk drawn by senior David Del Grande, came around to score on a single by junior Rhys Hoskins.
With men on the corners and two away, Hoskins ran from first, drawing a throw from the catcher Swenson to Chicago State shortstop Julian Russell. Del Grande took off from third and Russell threw back to the plate, sailing his throw over the catcher's head and allowing Del Grande to score what ended up being the winning run.
With the lead in hand McLoughlin entered for starter Justin Dillon in the seventh and did not allow a hit or walk, as the only Chicago State hitter to reach base over the final three innings came on a Hornet error. Dillon allowed just six hits with no walks and six strikeouts over his six innings to earn the win and improve to 3-0 this season.
Mehring, who was starting in place of ill right-hander Ean McNeal, allowed just two earned runs and five hits over 6.2 innings pitched but dropped to 0-8 with the loss. Moses and Hoskins each had two hits as did Hunt and Cougar third baseman Chase Matheson as each team had just six hits in the contest.
Over the three-game series, Chicago State committed eight errors leading to nine unearned runs. The Hornets also hit .343 against Cougar pitching and struck out just five times over the three games.
Sacramento State is off until opening a weekend series on Friday at Texas-Pan American, the team's final road games of the regular season.