SERIES RECAP: Sac State baseball opens conference play with series loss to Dixie State

Hornets drop two-of-three at home, fall to 9-7 on the year


Dominique Williams

Sac State senior first baseman Steven Moretto attempts to pick a ball out of the dirt at John Smith Field March 12th, 2022 against Dixie State in a 18-7 loss. The Hornets have committed 19 errors in 16 games thus far in the 2022 season.

Dylan McNeill

To kick off Western Athletic Conference play this spring for the Sacramento State baseball team, the Hornets welcomed the Dixie State Trailblazers to John Smith Field for a three-game set.

For the second weekend in a row, the Hornets dropped a series at home which matches the amount from the entire 2021 season.

Much like last weekend, Sac State enjoyed a big victory on Friday before going winless on Saturday and Sunday. The Hornets are now just 6-6 in Sacramento this season.

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For the Hornets, it’s been a hot and cold season so far. Sac State went 7-1 in the season’s first eight games and 2-6 after.

Friday: Hornets snap four-game losing streak with 9-2 win

Sac State baseball opened WAC play with a 9-2 win over Dixie State after Tuesday’s loss to Saint Mary’s. 

Senior infielder Nick Iwasa led the way in the leadoff spot going 3-5 while seniors Dylan McPhillips and Steven Moretto added two hits apiece, as did sophomore shortstop Jorge Bojorquez.

“The whole game we had team at-bats that’s what separates a win from a loss, we strung them together, everyone was playing not for themselves, but for the team,” McPhillips said.

The Hornet offense has excelled on Fridays so far in 2022, averaging 10.5 runs per game on Fridays compared to their average of 4.1 every other day of the week.

Sophomore Eli Saul earned his first win of the season going six innings, allowing two runs while striking out six.

“We made some adjustments offensively and obviously Eli pitched good enough to get us the chance to win so yeah, I feel good about it,” manager for the Hornets Reggie Christiansen said.

Sophomore relievers Max Pettey and Ryan Fleming pitched the final three innings for Sac State, allowing just two baserunners and not allowing a run to secure the Sac State victory.

“We talk about how there’s three phases to the season; non-conference, conference play, and then postseason, and now we’re in phase two and need to show up because everyone can beat you in this league,” Christiansen said.

Saturday: Sac State mercy ruled 18-7 in blowout home loss

In game two of the series on Saturday, the Hornets were thoroughly defeated in their biggest loss of the season, losing by 11 with the ninth inning being voided due to a mercy rule. 

Before Saturday, the biggest margin the Hornets had lost in a game was six points. 

Sac State senior first baseman Steven Moretto attempts to pick a ball out of the dirt at John Smith Field March 12th, 2022 against Dixie State in a 18-7 loss. The Hornets have committed 19 errors in 16 games thus far in the 2022 season. (Dylan Mcneill)

The onslaught began in the top of the first when Dixie State scored five unearned runs off of two Sac State errors.

“Essentially, the game was over after the first half an hour,” Christiansen said.”We have a chance to end the inning in the first and have two plays we don’t make and next thing we know it’s 8-0. It’s hard to come back after that.” 

It was a game filled with self-inflicted mistakes for the Hornets, who committed four errors while walking 10 Dixie State batters.

Each team hit two home runs on Saturday, Dixie State’s junior outfielder Tyson Fisher hit them both for the Trailblazers while collecting six RBIs in the game. 

For the Hornets, Dylan McPhillips hit his first homer of the season while sophomore second baseman Josh Rolling hit his second.



Sunday: Dixie State outlasts the Hornets with 4-3 win, clinch series victory

After blowouts by both teams in the first two games of the series, Sunday’s game was a more competitive back-and-forth game.

Sac State fell short on Sunday after tying the game in the bottom of the eighth. The Trailblazers regained the lead on a two-out RBI double off the bat of Dixie State sophomore Shane Taylor. 

The Hornets couldn’t muster a run in the ninth, leading to their seventh loss out of their last nine games.

Sophomore outfielder Josh Walker gave the Hornets the lead in the third with a towering blast that just stayed inside the foul pole that put Sac State up 2-1. 




Freshman pitcher Colin Hunter went five innings for the Hornets allowing three runs while fanning six Dixie State batters.

“I got myself into a couple tough situations but I just had to battle back and throw strikes and try to get those guys to get themselves out.” said Hunter.

Dixie State responded with two runs of their own in the fifth inning to put the Trailblazers up; the inning ended with the bases loaded as Dixie State hit a line drive to right field. Sophomore Cesar Valero left the ground and fully extended his body to haul in the catch and keep it a one-run game.




“That was awesome,”  Hunter said. “I kind of figured once I saw him running, I knew he was going to make that play so I started walking off the field, I had faith in him.” 

The score remained still until  Steven Moretto sacrificed a fly to knot the game up at 3-3 in the eighth inning before the Hornets ultimately fell just short. 

This weekend marks a disappointing start to WAC play for Sac State as they get ready to face off against San Francisco State on the road Tuesday. Their next conference series will be against Seattle University at Bannerwood Park for a three-game series beginning Friday at 4:00 pm.