SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Austin Root threw five strong innings and the Sacramento State (6-10) offense took advantage of Santa Clara (11-4) mistakes to go home Sunday afternoon with a 4-1 win over the visiting Broncos.
Coming off a dominant, eight-inning outing in his last start, Austin Root continued to throw well for the Hornets. Although he went just five innings, Root allowed just one Santa Clara run on two hits and a walk while striking out five.
"Root gave us a great start today," said head coach Reggie Christiansen after the game. "Root and all of our starters, they go out there, throw strikes, and give us a chance to win every game."
Root picked up his second win of the season in the game while lowering his ERA to 2.42. Over his last 16.0 innings, the senior has allowing just two runs on seven hits and one walk while striking out 16.
Behind Root, Ty Fox and Tanner Dalton were excellent out of the pen, combining to throw four shutout innings while allowing just one hit and two walks to go with four strikeouts. Dalton earned the save with a scoreless eighth and ninth innings, his first of the season.
Offensively, the Hornets took advantage of Santa Clara errors to score three times in the third inning. The Hornets had just two hits in the inning, but two Broncos errors, a fielder's choice, and a sacrifice fly turned into three runs for Sacramento State, giving them more than they would need.
They scored their fourth run of the game in the seventh inning on an Ian Dawkins sacrifice fly, adding an insurance run that turned out to not be needed.
Overall, Dawkins was 0-for-3 in Sunday's game, but did add a run to go with his RBI. James Outman led the team with two hits, including a double, while also scoring a run and driving one in. He now leads the team in nearly every offensive category, including batting average (.306), home runs (three) and RBIs (13). He is tied with Vinny Esposito for the team lead with five doubles.
With the win, the Hornets manage to avoid the sweep against Santa Clara after dropping the first three games of the series. Despite the 1-3 series outcome, the Hornets found some positives in their performance against the Broncos. Over the course of four games, Sacramento State scored 20 runs.
"Even though the outcome wasn't exactly what we wanted the first couple of games, the offense has started to look better," said Outman after the game. "I was happy with the way we swung the bats this weekend compared to last weekend. The results aren't there yet, but we've been looking for better pitches and having better at bats. You have to trust the process."
"The offense has been much better. I was really happy with how we swung it this weekend compared to last weekend. We've been looking for better pitches and having better at bats."
"I still think we're trying to find our identity offensively," added Christiansen. "We have some veterans who are off to a slow start and we're also asking a lot of our new guys.
In the end, Christiansen noted that it just felt good to get the win and avoid the sweep.
"It always feels good to win on a Sunday, especially after not being too pleased with the first three games of the series. To salvage the series, to not get swept, that was important for us moving forward."
Moving forward, the Hornets welcome the Nevada Wolf Pack baseball team to Sacramento State on Tuesday, March 13. Starters have not yet been announced for either team. First pitch on Tuesday is scheduled for 6:00 pm PT.