Hornets baseball team take series versus New Mexico State

Sac State wins 3 of 4

Senior+infielder+Ryan+Walstad+tags+one+of+New+Mexico%27s+players+as+they+leap+toward+first+base+at+Sac+State%27s+John+Smith+Field+on+Sunday%2C+April+11%2C+2021.+The+Hornets+beat+the+Aggies+by+a+final+score+of+4-0.

Sydney Roll

Senior infielder Ryan Walstad tags one of New Mexico’s players as they leap toward first base at Sac State’s John Smith Field on Sunday, April 11, 2021. The Hornets beat the Aggies by a final score of 4-0.

Dylan McNeill

Following Friday’s doubleheader split with New Mexico State, the Hornets entered the weekend looking to win their fourth straight series. After getting beaten 10-2 in the second game on Friday, the Hornets (19-7, 11-3 WAC) looked to bounce back to keep pace with California Baptist University (19-9,11-1 WAC) in the Western Athletic Conference Standings.

And bounce back the Hornets did.

 

Saturday: Hornets hold on 9-6, after Aggies 9th inning rally

After Friday night’s blowout defeat, the Hornets looked to return the favor Saturday and for a while it looked as if they were going to, leading 9-1 entering the ninth. But to the Aggies’ credit they did not roll over, instead scoring five in the ninth to make things interesting before Sac State’s Travis Martizia closed the door, securing the victory for the Hornets.

The Hornets were led offensively by senior Ryan Walstad, who drove in the game’s first run with a first inning sacrifice fly to drive in Nick Iwasa. Walstad then homered a few innings later, a solo shot that put the Hornets up 2-0. The very next batter, Hornets catcher Dawsen Bacho hit a homer of his own to go back-to-back, which extended the lead to 3-0.

The Hornets then added three more runs in the fourth inning, including two on a Matt Smith two-run single.

Smith wasn’t done for the Hornets. In the 6th inning, he blasted his fifth homer of the year, and the two-run shot made it 9-1.

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On the mound Travis Adams struck out eight over six innings while giving up just one run. Adams (4-1) along with Scott Randall has been a formidable one-two punch in the rotation of coach Reggie Christiansen’s staff, which has allowed the second fewest runs in the WAC.

 

Sunday: Hornets pitching stimies Aggies bats win 4-0, take series

On Sunday with a chance to win the series versus a conference opponent, Christiansen went to junior Brady Rodriguez to be the starting pitcher. Sunday marked Rodriguez’s first start of the year, as his first 11 appearances have been out of the bullpen.

Rodriguez (5-0) has been nearly untouchable out of the pen with a 1.09 ERA, but with Christiansen needing arms in the fourth game of the series, he turned to the junior left-hander.

Rodriguez rewarded that faith with five shutout innings as he picked up his fifth win of the season.

“The ability to throw three pitches for strikes and keep them off balance, I thought he did a really good job obviously,” Christiansen said. “It wasn’t a situation where we knew he was going to start this weekend, but after yesterday the opportunity arose for him to make a spot-start and who knows, there might be more in his future.” 

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It wasn’t Rodriguez alone however. Third baseman Steven Moretto hit a three-run shot in the second to put the Hornets up 3-0. 

After Rodriguez was pulled, Christiansen went to another reliever: Jack Zalasky, who had three shutout innings of his own before giving way to closer Stone Churby to finish up the ballgame.

The victory clinched the series for the Hornets, who have won every series this season versus a conference opponent. The Hornets return to action Friday at 5:00 p.m. at home as they are set to host Seattle University.