Sac State baseball falters in the sixth, loses to UNR 6-2 at Raley Field


Sacramento State junior Nathan Lukes hits a pop fly foul ball during the baseball game against Nevada Univeristy on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at Raley Field in Sacramento, California. The Hornets lost the game 6-2.

Andrew Watson

The stage was bright at Raley Field for Sacramento State baseball’s first local night game of the year, but the University of Nevada, Reno (16-4) spoiled their return to the River Cat’s ballpark and walked away with the 6-2 victory.

A sloppy defensive sixth inning from Sac State allowed the Wolf Pack to take advantage with three unearned runs. The Hornets allowed four total runs and wasted a great start by their pitcher Justin Dillon.

Dillon, who started the year as the team’s closer, got his second start of the year and pitched five scoreless innings. He ran into trouble in the fifth after giving up a walk, a base hit and hitting a batter to load the bases, but Dillon was able to get out of the jam ending the inning with two strikeouts.

In the sixth, left-hander Jake Stassi came in for relief, but was unable to follow in Dillon’s footsteps, immediately finding himself in trouble. After UNR’s successful bunt, followed by an intentional and unintentional walk, left the bases loaded for the Wolf Pack’s Kewby Meyer. A wild pitch allowed the first run to score and the next run was given up on an error made by first baseman Vinny Esposito.

Stassi would be relieved by Grant Kukuk in the sixth, who struck out the first batter swinging, but then allowed a two-run RBI double to Jordan Devencenzi. He would get the next guy out on a fielder’s choice and ended the bleeding for the Hornets.

Sac State would not go away quietly, answering back with two runs of their own in the bottom of the sixth. Scotty Burcham singled to score Kyle Moses, followed by a double by Brandon Hunley to score Burcham. This cut the Wolf Pack’s lead to 4-2.

Chad Perry pitched a clean seventh inning, but Ryan Smith was not able to do the same in the eighth, allowing UNR to add an additional run. Sutter McLoughlin’s ninth inning was very similar, giving up an additional security run to Nevada, extending their lead to 6-2.

This was the first appearance by McLoughlin who had been battling a shoulder injury that developed last season.

In the bottom of the ninth, the Hornets were able to get a couple baserunners on but were unable to amount a comeback.

The top producers for Sac State at the plate were Burcham with two hits and one RBI and Hunley, who had a RBI double.

Nevada’s Trenton Brooks pitched three scoreless innings and only gave up a single. At the plate for UNR, Devencenzi had two hits and two RBIs and Stevenson adding three hits of his own.

With the majority of nonconference play over, the team will look to get off to a strong start in the Western Athletic Conference which begins this Friday against the University of Texas-Pan American.

The Hornets (10-9) ace right-hander Brennan Leitao will get his first conference start of the year and will look to begin their journey back to a NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament.