Defense, pitching aids Sac State baseball’s 2-0 win over Cal Poly

Sheldon Kohatsu

Sam Long threw a scoreless complete game against Cal Poly San Luis Obispo tonight, leading Sacramento State to its second consecutive victory over the Mustangs 2-0.

Scotty Burcham would score in the first and in the eighth inning, leading the way at the plate for the Hornets in a game that was a pitcher’s duel.

Cal Poly’s starter Kyle Smith lasted seven innings, giving up one run on six hits, one walk and four strikeouts. However, Long’s numbers would overshadow the Mustangs’ performance.

Long only tallied 105 pitches in his first complete game of the season and surrendered only five hits with no walks. Throughout his shutout performance, Long would not allow more than one base runner at a time with each of his five hits given up in separate innings.

“I was able to pound the zone early in counts and my change worked really well,” Long said. “The defense worked for me like always.”

The sophomore lefty has a perfect 4-0 record with a 1.69 ERA.

“I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing and come out every week and compete,” said Long, regarding the remainder of the season.

Cal Poly’s leadoff, third hitter and cleanup hitter recorded base hits, but were not able to string any together. Long was able to cut any momentum the Mustangs had by getting ahead in counts and using his dominant changeup to get key strikeouts.

“I have confidence in all of them,” said Long, referring to his different pitches. “My favorite one to get guys out is my changeup right on the outside corner.”

Although the squad combined for 11 hits, the offense was only able to produce two runs, which was enough behind Long’s strong performance.

Burcham saw the ball well at the plate today with hits on three of his four plate appearances.

“I just felt like I got deeper in counts and as a result saw more fastballs,” said Burcham, speaking of his success. “Plus it’s nice to have a hitter like Nate [Nathan Lukes] to protect you.”

Nathan Lukes would knock Burcham home in the first with a fielder’s choice, and Vinny Esposito would drive Burcham in during the eighth with an RBI single.

Sac State’s defense played flawless for the second day in a row, allowing no errors in support of the strong performances from its starters.

“I have always put defense as my priority and since coming here coach Christiansen has really preached pitching and defense,” Burcham said. “The young guys have done a really great job and are always working hard.”

The Hornets have won two straight and four out of their last six. They will look to continue their winning streak tomorrow behind strong defense and starting pitching in the final game of the four-game series against the Mustangs.

Sac State leads the series 2-1. Game 4 will start at 1 p.m.