Hornets’ baseball takes win over No. 18 UC Santa Barbara


Sam Long started the second game of the series for the Sacramento State Hornets against No. 18 UC Santa Barbara on Saturday, March 7, 2015 at John Smith Field in Sacramento, Calif. Long held the Gauchos to three runs through six innings pitched to get the win for the Hornets. The final score was 5-4 and the three-game series was evened to 1-1.

Sheldon Kohatsu

Behind a three-run fifth inning rally, the Sacramento State Hornets hung on to beat visiting No. 18 UC Santa Barbara 5-4 on Saturday.

The Hornets (7-5) rebounded a day after being held to five hits and being shut out by the Gauchos’ Dillon Tate. The men recorded 11 hits in today’s win and ended their four-game losing streak and dropped the Gauchos to 10-4.

The deciding rally started with leadoff hitter PJ Floyd’s sharp double to left field. Scotty Burcham then singled in Floyd with a grounder that squeezed through to center field. Nathan Lukes hit a triple to knock in Burcham and gave the Hornets a 4-3 lead. They extended it to 5-3 after left fielder Chris Lewis hit a sacrifice fly to score Lukes.

“Our aggressive approach worked in our favor today,” said coach Reggie Christiansen. “We were able to string together some hits and us picking up those timely hits is what had been missing the last couple of games.”

Sac State scored early with a Lewis sacrifice fly in the bottom of the first inning. PJ Floyd’s RBI single in the bottom half of the second inning pushed the Hornets’ lead 2-0.

The Hornets’ starter Sam Long pitched six innings, allowing three earned runs and picked up the win. Long (3-0) ran into some trouble in the top half of the third inning after the first two batters singled and the leadoff hitter Andrew Calica drove in a run with an RBI ground out. Cameron Newell then singled in a run which tied the game 2-2.

UCSB took the lead 3-2 on Robby Nesovic’s fourth inning RBI ground out. Long rebounded to pitch a scoreless fifth and sixth inning for the Hornets.

“They were a really good team and made me pay for a couple of my mistakes,” Long said. “I am glad that we were able to battle back and pick up the win.”

Floyd, the team’s designated hitter, led the Hornets in going 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI. It was the freshmen’s first career start.

Lukes continued his torrid start to the season going 2-for-4 with the RBI triple. The junior is hitting .478 through 12 games and it was his second triple of the year.

Shane Bieber pitched six innings, allowing five runs with four of them earned in taking the loss for UCSB. Woody Woodward went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a double to pace a Gauchos’ offensive attack, which had seven hits.

The Gauchos threatened to make the game interesting with an RBI bloop single from Woodward in the top of the eighth inning off of Hornets’ reliever Ryan Smith. The freshman Smith was able to escape the jam and completed two innings of relief allowing the sole run.

Closer Justin Dillon pitched a perfect ninth inning to pick up the save for a Hornets’ team that has remained upbeat despite some tough losses in recent games.

“It’s rewarding to get a victory over a ranked opponent and a team as talented as they are,” Dillon said. “We played hard until the last out, and it felt good personally to get that last out for us.”

Game three of the series is scheduled Sunday at 12 p.m. at John Smith Field. The projected starters for tomorrow’s game are Sac State’s right-hander Ty Nichols (0-0, 2.03 ERA) and UCSB’s left-hander Justin Jacome (2-1, 2.41).