Baseball puts on an offense clinic in 12-2 win against Portland

Kevin L. Shepherd

Chris Lewis blasted a pair of two-run home runs in Sacramento State baseball’s 12-2 victory over the visiting University of Portland Pilots, allowing the Hornets to sweep Saturday’s doubleheader.

Sac State won the first game of the doubleheader 7-2. This sweep moved the Hornets to 6-1 on the season by taking the first three games of the four game series. They dropped the Pilots to a 1-7 record.

The fireworks began in the bottom of the first inning with Lewis’ first two-run home run, a towering shot to left field, giving the Hornets a quick 2-0 lead.

“I’m not sure how far it went,” Lewis said. “It sounded pretty good off of my bat.”

Freshman Vinny Esposito’s two-run home run in the bottom of the third inning was followed two batters later by Lewis’ second two-run shot of the game, which gave the Hornets a 6-2 lead.

“I got a good pitch in my spot,” Esposito said. “I tried to put a swing on it as hard as I can and thankfully I connected.”

Sac State busted the game open in the bottom of the fourth inning by adding five more runs on five hits and one walk.

Sam Long improved to 2-0 this season, going 5 2/3 innings pitched. Long appeared to be in a groove before a sixth inning comebacker hit him on his pitching hand. Long soon exited the game for precautionary measures and the staff indicated he would be fine.

“I’ll be fine for my next start next week,” Long said. “I’ll be a little sore today, but I’ll definitely be ready to go.”

Long also assessed his performance and the mindset in pitching in today’s blowout win.

“I felt more comfortable than in my first start,” Long said. “We were up by a lot of runs, so my mentality was just to go out there and throw strikes and get the bats back to our hot offense.”

Portland pitcher Cole Doherty gave up 10 earned runs in 3 1/3 innings pitched to take the loss.

Portland tied the game at two a piece with Michael Lucarelli’s two-run home run in the third inning. Goeffrey Lee went 2-for-4, and Turner Gill went 2-for-2 to lead the Pilots.

The Hornets have swung the bats exceptionally well throughout this series. They had 16 hits in this game following 10 in the first game of the doubleheader.

Junior Lewis led the Hornets by going 3-for-4 with an RBI double in addition to the two home runs to finish with five RBIs. Esposito went 3-for-5 with four RBIs, falling a triple short of the cycle. Junior Nathan Lukes went 4-for-5 with an RBI for a well-represented Hornets’ lineup.

“I got some good pitches to hit and I was able to handle them,” Lewis said. “We were all swinging the bats well today and making solid at-bats.”

Sophomore Austin Ragsdale entered the contest in the top of the sixth inning for the Hornets, replacing Long. Ragsdale went 1 1/3 innings, allowing no earned runs in relief. Freshmen Jeremiah Moore rounded out the pitching for the Hornets going two innings, not allowing a hit or any runs.

The series concludes with their final game against Portland tomorrow at 12 p.m. at John Smith Field.