Hornets split 4-game baseball series against Washington


Alex Daniels - The State Hornet

Sacramento State senior first baseman Vinny Esposito catches a ball at first base to record an out on freshman Jonathan Schiffer Sunday, Feb. 18 at John Smith Field. The Hornets defeated the Washington Huskies 6-0.

Alex Daniels

The Sacramento State baseball team split a four-game series against the University of Washington from Friday to Monday to open the 2018 season at John Smith Field.

The series split against the Huskies snaps a streak of three consecutive years in which the Hornets have defeated a team from a Power-5 Conference — which features teams in the Pac-12, Big 12, Big Ten, Atlantic Coast and Southeastern — in a head-to-head series to start the season.

The Hornets lost the first game of the series 4-1 in extra (11) innings following a pitcher’s duel from the competing programs.

Junior outfielder James Outman, who finished the game going 2-for-5 at the plate, said the struggles in the batter’s box to start the series weren’t concerning for the team.

“Getting the first game jitters out of the way is pretty common,” Outman said. “It wasn’t too frustrating because I know that once you get your first couple at-bats out of the way, (the production) is going to pick up.”

Washington picked up its play and was able to pull through in the 11th inning as the Huskies scored three runs to break a 1-1 tie on opening night.

Sac State (2-2) sophomore pitcher Parker Brahms threw six innings, gave up two hits and struck out nine batters. Redshirt sophomore outfielder Matt Smith went 2-for-5 at the plate.

However, the Hornets took game two of the series with a 6-4 victory that brought more offensive power from the home team.

Outman went 2-for-5, for the second straight game, and finished with an RBI. Smith also contributed with a solo home run in the fourth inning. Senior outfielder Ian Dawkins, senior first baseman Vinny Esposito and sophomore catcher Michael Birch each had an RBI as well.

Senior pitcher Austin Root threw six innings, allowed zero earned runs, gave up five hits and struck out two batters.

Sac State then took game three of the series with a 6-0 victory that brought an all-around performance from hitters to pitchers.

Freshman infielder Steven Moretto went 1-for-3 with two RBIs, including his first career home run in the second inning. Senior PJ Floyd also added a home run in the seventh inning.

Alex Daniels – The State Hornet
Sacramento State freshman infielder Steven Moretto slides safely into third base following a wild pitch Saturday, Feb. 17 at John Smith Field. The Hornets defeated the Washington Huskies 6-4.

Freshman pitcher Scott Randall pitched five shutout innings with two strikeouts and three hits given up in his Sac State debut. This performance helped the Hornets’ starting pitchers finish with 17 innings pitched and zero earned runs allowed in the first three games of the season.

This did not carry over into game four as freshman pitcher Brady Rodriguez only lasted one inning after giving up three runs, two of which were earned, in a 8-5 loss against Washington.

However, the Hornets had their chances throughout the game, but they stranded 13 runners on base.

Despite the spilt, Sac State coach Reggie Christiansen said he was proud of the team’s effort throughout the series.

“I thought we had opportunities to win all four games,” Christiansen said. “You don’t really know what your team is going to be like until you play somebody else.”

The Hornets will next play against the University of San Francisco on Friday at John Smith Field.