March 26, 2017

Baseball team completes four-game sweep over Northern Kentucky

Sacramento State sophomore James Outman celebrates with teammates after scoring a run against Northern Kentucky at John Smith Field on Feb. 26. (Photo by Cameron Leng)

Sacramento State captured a four-game sweep over the Northern Kentucky baseball team Sunday, winning 12-11 after coming back from two separate four-run deficits at John Smith Field.

Sac State junior center fielder Ian Dawkins led the way as he went 4-for-5 batting, driving in three RBIs and drawing a walk with the bases loaded to grab the eventual game-winning run in the eighth inning.

“I’m getting good pitches to hit out there,” Dawkins said about his .379 batting average at the plate this season. “I’m trying to work myself into a good hitter’s count and go from there.”

The Hornets (6-1) began the game with junior pitcher Michael Warning, who gave up an RBI single to Northern Kentucky freshman catcher Griffin Green in the second inning. The next batter — freshman left fielder Preston Pilat — drove a run in with a sacrifice fly to take a 2-0 lead.

In total, Warning allowed two earned runs, four hits and got only four batters out before being relieved by senior Tanner Olson after one and a third innings pitched. Northern Kentucky junior designated hitter Trey Ganns extended the lead with a two-RBI single, giving the Norse a 4-0 advantage over Sac State.

The Hornets got on the scoreboard in the third inning after sophomore right fielder James Outman grounded out to drive in sophomore second baseman Devin Lehman, which reduced the Northern Kentucky lead to 4-1.

Sacramento State sophomore James Outman swings at a pitch against Northern Kentucky Sunday at John Smith Field. (Photo by Cameron Leng)

After back-to-back singles and a sacrifice bunt in the fourth inning, Dawkins hit an RBI single and freshman catcher Dawsen Bacho later crossed home plate on a ground ball hit by junior left fielder Andrew McWilliam, narrowing the score to 4-3. Outman hit a bases clearing double to score two runners and senior designated hitter Kody Reynolds hit a two-run home run over the wall in left field to jump out to a 7-4 lead.

Northern Kentucky rallied to get its lead back in the sixth thanks to junior shortstop Jake Richmond driving in senior right fielder TJ Alas. Richmond then scored after a double by sophomore first baseman Will Haueter, and junior third baseman Dominic Mercurio tied the game 7-7 with a double.

The Norse grabbed a 11-7 lead after an an RBI single from senior second baseman Ty Amann and a three-run home run by junior pinch hitter Chad Roberts.

Sac State responded in the bottom of the sixth by scoring three runs: a base-hit RBI from Ricky Martinez, an RBI double by pinch hitter PJ Floyd and an infield RBI single from Dawkins. Reynolds hit a sacrifice fly to score McWilliam to tie the game 11-11 in the seventh inning.

In the eighth inning, Northern Kentucky  junior pitcher Brody Basilo walked three straight batters after allowing a single to Floyd which put the Hornets up 12-11. After Warning left the game, Sac State coach Reggie Christiansen used six different pitchers out of the bullpen — including sophomore Alex Dentoni — who struck out four batters in the eighth and ninth innings to earn his third win of the year.

“They didn’t quit,” Christiansen said after earning his 300th win as a Sac State coach. “It was a sloppy game on both sides — I don’t think either side really deserved to win. Hopefully we are able to learn some things from (this game).”

The Hornets will travel to take on Washington in a four-game series that starts March 2.

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