SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Sacramento State junior pitcher Sam Long tied his career high with seven strikeouts and allowed just four singles over seven scoreless innings to lead his team to a 1-0 shutout of North Dakota on Friday at John Smith Field.
In the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) conference opener for both teams the Hornets won their third straight contest to improve to 12-8 this season while dropping North Dakota to 3-11 on the year. The shutout was the second thrown by Sacramento State in 2016.
After Long put seven zeros on the scoreboard relievers Chad Perry and Tyler Beardsley each threw scoreless innings to close out the win. North Dakota starter Zach Muckenhirn was fantastic for his team, striking out 14 batters and allowing only four hits in 7.1 innings but taking the loss.
The only run the Hornets needed was scored in their first at-bat of the game. Junior Trent Goodrich singled to right center with one way and stole second. Cleanup hitter Matt Smith came to the plate with two out and brought Goodrich home with a single to right.
Smith, a freshman, extended his season-long hitting streak to 14 games and has also driven in a run in 10 of the first 14 games he has played in his career. His batting average sits at .412 during his incredible start to playing collegiate baseball.
North Dakota put runners on base in each of the first three innings but could not score. The Fighting Hawks were permitted just two at-bats in the game with runners in scoring position while Long allowed just four hits and two walks.
The Hornets had men aboard in each of their last three at-bats but could not add on. In the ninth inning UND got a leadoff single from Miles Lewis but catcher Brett Harrison's sacrifice bunt attempt went right back to Beardsley, who started a 1-6-3 double play. Beardsley then struck out Daniel Lockhert, the Hawks cleanup hitter, to finish the win.
Beardsley earned his WAC-leading fifth save of the season and has now been a part of eight of his team's 12 wins this year as he also has three wins. Muckenhirn lowered his season ERA to 2.52 but took another tough loss, dropping to 1-4. Long earned his first win since March 4 to improve to 2-4 this year.
Goodrich had two of Sacramento State's four hits in the game with a single and a double. Lewis, also hitting in the No. 2 position, had three of the five North Dakota hits.
Sacramento State and North Dakota will conclude the series with a doubleheader on Saturday starting at 11 a.m.
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