SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento State scored the first run of the night Saturday against North Dakota State, taking a 1-0 lead early. But the Bison countered with nine unanswered runs, including five in the ninth, stealing the home opener from Sacramento State, 9-1.
Sophomore second baseman Steven Moretto opened the home half of the third inning getting hit by a pitch. He advanced to third on a perfect sacrifice bunt by freshman Evan Gibbons before moving to third on a North Dakota State balk.
Two batters later, junior left fielder Matt Smith smashed a triple into the left-center gap. Moretto trotted home for the game's first run and Sacramento State's first run of the season. Smith dove headfirst into third ahead of the tag as the Hornets dugout erupted.
Despite the instant momentum swing, that third-inning run was all the Hornets would get Saturday night as they managed just two more hits the rest of the way.
Despite the lack of hits, the Hornets manufactured opportunities in both the sixth in seventh innings. Sacramento State drew back-to-back walks to open the sixth, but left them both stranded. In the seventh, the Hornets loaded the bases with two outs but were unable to capitalize.
In total, Sacramento State left 10 men on base, including six in scoring position. They were 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
Moretto reached base twice for the Hornets, drawing a walk in addition to being hit by a pitch. Making his Hornets debut, local product Gibbons went 1-for-3 with a base hit and a sacrifice bunt. Another newcomer, Trevor Doyle is still looking for his first collegiate hit, going 0-2, though he did draw two walks.
Junior right-hander Parker Brahms took the mound for the Hornets in the season opener. Last year's ERA leader in the WAC, Brahms threw five innings, allowing three runs on four hits and three walks. He struck out eight.
Behind him, Brady Rodriguez threw scoreless inning before North Dakota State opened things up against the rest of the Hornets' pen. Stone Churby was tagged for five runs on seven hits in 2.2 while Jack Zalasky was charged with the Bison's final run on two hits and a walk.
The Hornets will have a chance to bounce right back from Saturday night's loss with a double-header on Sunday against the Bison. First pitch for game one is scheduled for 1 p.m. at John Smith Field with game two set to start half an hour after the conclusion of game one.
For more information on video and audio streams, live stats, and more, be sure to visit the 2019 Sacramento State Baseball Schedule at HornetSports.com.