Sac State baseball team splits four-game series with Northern Colorado

Matt Smith tops Hornets all-time list in hits and RBIs


Deanna Sanchez

Sac State hitter Matt Smith swings against the Stanford Cardinals on March 29 in a 3-2 Hornet win. Smith became the Sac State leader in hits and RBIs on April 25 against Northern Colorado.

Dylan McNeill

The Sac State baseball team tied their series with the University of Northern Colorado Bears over the weekend.

After losing their first Western Athletic Conference series last weekend at home against Seattle University, the Hornets looked to return to their winning ways versus the Bears, who entered the weekend with a 7-22 (3-13 WAC) record.

The Hornets (22-9, 14-6 WAC) dropped to third in the WAC standings falling behind Grand Canyon University whom the Hornets are set to host next weekend at John Smith Field. 

The Hornets struggled to get their offense going during the series against Seattle, but the series in Colorado came with a change of scenery, going from Sacramento with the wind blowing in all last series to the elevation of Greeley, Colorado, which sits over 4,600 feet above sea level. The less-dense air allows for balls to be met with reduced resistance and travel in the air farther as the Hornets offense looks to regain their stride.

Friday: Randall once again matches Sac State record, Hornets win 4-2

In the series opener versus University of Northern Colorado, Hornets pitcher Scott Randall (6-1) once again matched the single-game school strikeout record with 14. 

Randall, coming off his first loss of the season last weekend versus Seattle U, returned with a winning performance Friday as he pitched into the 9th allowing the first two batters to reach base and the third batter of the inning to reach on a dropped third strike, which tied his own strikeout record of 14. 

The Hornets then brought in reliever Jack Zalasky who put up three strikeouts in order to end the ballgame as the Bears left the bases loaded.

The Hornets offense got going early during this game as Matt Smith scored on a passed ball after getting on base with a single to put the Hornets up 1-0.

Sac State struck again in the second on a Keith Torres double which scored Dylan McPhillips to push the lead to 2-0.

In the third inning, the Bears did their damage off of Randall including a two-run triple from second baseman Shaydon Kubo which evened the game back 2-2.

The game remained tied until the sixth inning where Dawsen Bacho and Martin Vincelli-Simard hit a solo shot each to give the Hornets the 4-2 lead, which the Hornets would hold onto until the end.


Saturday Game 1: Bears score eight in the first two innings, hold on to beat Sac State 8-6 in 7 innings

Hornets junior pitcher Brady Rodriguez was roughed up in Saturday’s ballgame going only 1.2 innings and giving up eight runs (seven earned) on five hits and two walks. Saturday marked Rodriguez’s worst performance of the season despite the Hornet offense giving him an early 2-0 lead.

The lead came on an RBI single by Trevor Doyle, scoring McPhillips. Doyle then scored on a sacrifice fly by Smith, giving Sac State a 2-0 lead in the top of the first.

The bullpen performed well behind Rodriguez, going 4.2 shutout innings keeping it close for the Hornets.

In the 6th inning the Hornets drew closer with a run-scoring double by Doyle and then later scored on a two-run single by Vincelli-Simard who scored on a passed ball making it an 8-6 ballgame. 

Unfortunately for the Hornets, that’s as close as they got to victory in that game as the Bears held on, earning Northern Colorado their fourth conference win.


Saturday Game 2: Hornets trounce Bears 10-1 as Smith ties Sac State hit record

In the second half of the Saturday double-header, the Hornets had junior Travis Adams (5-1) starting on the mound, and unlike last Saturday where Adams got the no decision despite seven shutout innings, Adams received run support while holding Northern Colorado bats at bay.

Adams went 7.2 innings allowing just two hits while striking out a career high thirteen. Max Pettey got the final four outs to close out the game for the Hornets.

The bats were hot as the Hornets amassed 10 runs on nineteen baserunners. The scoring started in the second inning as Steven Moretto scored on a little league home run scoring Hunter Dorraugh. Moretto took second on the throw, and a Bears throwing error allowed Moretto to score. 

In the third inning Doyle reached first on another Bears throwing error, this one scored by McPhillips and Torres to make it 4-0 Hornets. The next batter was Smith who singled in Doyle, but the hit was his 244th tying the Sac State all-time school record with Nathan Lukes.

The Hornets continued the on pour scoring in all but three innings beating Northern Colorado 10-1.


Hornets drop shootout 13-11, Smith sets all-time hit and RBI record

In Sunday’s ballgame the Hornets once again got an early lead, scoring in the first on a sacrifice fly by Ryan Walstad scoring McPhillips for an early 1-0 lead.

There was no other scoring until the bottom of the third, where the Bears scored four and chased Hornets starting pitcher Rylan Tinsley (1-3) after 2.2 innings. 

In the fourth, the Bears added two more runs to their score; in the fifth, they added seven to give them a 14-4 lead. 

After the Bears’ three-inning scoring barrage, the Hornets tried to mount a comeback and picked up three runs in the seventh inning followed by two runs each in the eighth and ninth. However, it was not quite enough as Northern Colorado held on to win the game 13-11.

In the top half of the third, Smith singled to left field for his 245th hit with Sac State becoming the all time hit leader for the Hornets.

Smith was not done setting records on Sunday as he collected three RBIs in the game to pass Tim Wheeler as the Sac State all-time leader in RBIs with 143. 

“It feels good, obviously,” Smith said following his record-setting performance. “I credit Reggie and the coaching staff for letting me have my career here. I’ve enjoyed every second of it. It means a lot they’ve given me the faith and the trust over the past six years to pursue that and then achieve it today.” 

The sixth-year senior Smith finished the ballgame 1-6 with three RBIs for the Hornets.

“I’ve been with him for six years, he’s more like a part of my family, like a friend than he is a player to me,” said head coach Reggie Christiansen following Sunday’s loss. “It was exciting for him. It was exciting for his teammates.”

The Hornets return to the diamond on Tuesday, April 27, as they take on University of Kansas on the road for a two-game non-conference series with first pitch at 1:00 p.m.