Hayden Carter pitched nine innings to earn a complete game shutout victory as the visiting CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners outlasted the Sacramento State Hornets 1-0 to take game one of the three-game set today at John Smith Field between the Western Athletic Conference rivals.
Carter allowed five hits and two walks. He struck out one and was backed by some stellar defensive plays. The 5-foot-11-inch senior outperformed the Hornets’ ace Brennan Leitao, who also pitched a complete game.
“We were making good contact today,” said Sac State coach Reggie Christiansen. “You have to tip your hat off to their pitcher and some of the plays that they made in the field.”
The two teams are headed in contrasting directions. CSU Bakersfield (21-14, 9-3-1 WAC) has won seven consecutive conference games and eight games overall. Sac State (19-17, 7-6 WAC) has lost seven of nine games overall, while losing six of seven conferences games during that same stretch.
In another reoccurring case this season, Leitao was on the mound for the Hornets and found himself in a pitchers’ duel. The Friday starter fell to 3-4 despite having an ERA of 2.38. Friday starts typically pit both teams’ aces against one another. The Hornets fell to 4-6 in games that Leitao has started.
The only jam the senior got into was the second inning rally for Bakersfield. Chance Gusberg’s RBI single to center was the third consecutive single in the inning for the Roadrunners and ended up being the game winner.
“I tried to collect outs and get the team back in the dugout as fast as possible,” Leitao said. “Unfortunately, our offense couldn’t find a groove today, but that’s baseball. You just gotta tip your cap and bounce back tomorrow.”
Each team had five hits as Ryan Grotjohn led the Roadrunners in going 2-for-4. Scotty Burcham had two of the five hits for Sac State. Neither team picked up an extra base hit in the low scoring affair.
“We have to keep battling,” Burcham said. “They are a good team and made some plays. I think that we will be fine the rest of the series.”
Sac State’s Nathan Lukes led off the ninth inning with a bullet down the first base line that Roadrunner first basemen Max Carter––no relation to Hayden Carter––made a terrific diving stop on. He then flipped over to teammate Hayden Carter covering first base to get out number one.
Burcham legged out an infield single with two outs to give the hosts one last chance. Hayden Carter was able to induce a ground out from Vinny Esposito. Fittingly, the ground out was to the pitcher who then threw over to first base to end the game.
Game two is scheduled for tomorrow at 1 p.m.