Baseball loses final game against UC Santa Barbara 8-6 in 11 innings


Ty Nichols started the game for Sacramento State against the No. 18 ranked UC Santa Barbara Gauchos on Sunday, March 8, 2015 at John Smith Field. Nichols threw a solid six innings, giving up only four hits and two unearned runs. The Hornets went on to lose the game 8-6 in 11 innings.

State Hornet Staff

It took extra innings to decide the final game of the series between Sacramento State and UC Santa Barbara, as the Hornets gave up two in the 11th inning to lose 8-6.

After coming back from multiple deficits, the squad was unable to hold on to their two-run lead after a big inning in the seventh.

“I think it was a really good series; we learned a lot about ourselves,” said coach Reggie Christiansen. “Any time you’re playing good opponents like that, you are going to learn a lot about yourself.”

The Hornets defensively got off to a rough start behind starter Tyler Nichols, allowing two unearned runs in the first inning as a result of a two errors. Nichols went on to pitch five scoreless innings and despite his ERA staying below 2.00, he has still been unable to earn a decision.

“The game goes back to the first inning for me,” Christiansen said. “The first inning we gave them two runs.”

After conceding two runs, Sac State answered back strong behind a two-run blast over the left field wall by Brandon Hunley on the first pitch of his at bat in the fifth, which scored Devin Lehman to tie the game at two.

The rally continued following a walk by Gunner Pollman and an error on a sacrifice bunt laid down by Bronson Grubbs, leaving runners on first and second. PJ Floyd’s sac bunt pushed the runners over to second and third, which allowed Scotty Burcham to hit a sac fly to score Pollman. Nathan Lukes lined one back up the middle, scoring Grubbs and extending the Hornets’ lead to 4-2.

Tyler Beardsley relieved Nichols in the top of the seventh and quickly found himself in trouble after a leadoff double, followed by an infield hit. A sac fly by shortstop Peter Maris scored Robby Nesovic from third, reducing the Hornets’ lead to one run.

Dalton Kelly then went deep on a two-run shot over the second fence in right field, regaining the lead for the Gauchos, who added an additional run in the eighth to extend their lead to 6-4.

“Our starting pitchers have done really well,” said Justin Dillon, who gave up the additional run in the eighth. “A few of the relievers, including myself, have been struggling a little bit.

Behind RBIs from Lehman and Hunley, Sac State again battled back and tied the game against the ranked Gauchos.

In the 11th inning, Santa Barbara scored two runs off Grant Kukuk in his third inning of relief, which the Hornets could not overcome.

“I thought we played hard; we battled it out,” Pollman said. “A few things didn’t go our way but nothing to complain about.”

Losing to nonconference ranked competition early in the season can be used as a valuable learning experience for the squad, especially when conference play starts.

“You learn from failure,” Pollman said. “It was a great team to play because we got to see what we need to do to get better.”

The Hornets, now 7-6, will look to bounce back against William Jessup University at 2 p.m. Wednesday in a game that was a late addition to the schedule.