Team effort propels Sac State baseball to 4-1 win over William Jessup

State Hornet Staff

Aided by five different pitchers and a pair of two-run innings, the Sacramento State Hornets beat the visiting William Jessup Warriors 4-1 Tuesday. 

Hornets’ sophomore reliever Austin Ragsdale pitched three innings of shutout ball, allowing only two hits and striking out two Warriors to earn the win. Ragsdale who entered the game in the top of the fifth inning was the third Hornets’ pitcher to enter the contest.

“As a reliever I typically don’t go three innings,” Ragsdale said. “I was able to get into a rhythm which allowed me to feel really comfortable out there and stay in the game longer than normal.” 

Freshman reliever Ryan Smith escaped some minor trouble in the ninth inning, allowing a hit and a walk before recovering to pick up his second save for Sac State.

This game was added to the schedule last week due to the Hornets having three contests cancelled at Texas Tech University Feb. 27, 28 and March 1. William Jessup (3-18), from nearby Rocklin, are in its first year of having a baseball program and compete in the NAIA division. 

Sac State is still adjusting to having the games cancelled, as it has been difficult to make up for the in-game intensity in practice. The Hornets also have pitchers who missed out on potential innings in Texas. 

“We are still looking to get back to the routine of playing competitive baseball every day,” said coach Reggie Christiansen. “We have some guys that had not got out there in a while, and it was good to get some of them in today.” 

The Hornets got some breathing room in the fifth inning after scoring two runs. The Warriors’ reliever Jesse Flora walked leadoff hitter Bronson Grubbs and issued a balk to put two runners on base. Sac State freshman PJ Floyd capitalized on the situation, hitting a sharp single to right to score Grubbs. Flora’s second balk of the inning advanced Floyd to second base before he stole third base. Nathan Lukes’ sacrifice fly scored Floyd to put the Hornets up 4-1. 

The Warriors outhit the Hornets eight to six. Ferman Beza’s RBI sacrifice fly in the top half of the fourth inning was the Warriors’ best chance to do damage. Hornets’ reliever Jared Paderez was in trouble briefly, facing a runner on second and third after back-to-back hits before settling down and getting Beza to fly out. 

Rory Petersen, Mason Kuebler and Dayton Kurian each had two hits a piece to pace William Jessup. Chris Lewis and Floyd each went 2-for-4 for Sac State. 

The men got on the board in the bottom of the second inning. After a Lewis single, Scotty Burcham doubled, advancing Lewis to third base. Warriors’ starter Steven Rodriguez then threw a wild pitch scoring Lewis. Dane Fujinaka’s ground out plated Burcham to move the score to 2-0. 

The Hornets took advantage of the extra game by getting some of their pitchers some much-needed innings. Freshmen starter Austin Root made his first career start for the Hornets pitching two innings, giving up two hits and not allowing any runs. Chad Perry pitched a perfect eighth inning, striking out one batter before handing the ball over to Smith to close it out. 

“It felt good to get the last out,” Smith said. “It doesn’t matter to me which inning I pitch in as long as I can help the team.”

The Hornets begin a four-game road series Thursday, March 12 at Cal Poly San Louis Obispo. This win puts the team at 8-6.