Sac State baseball drops fourth straight series, loses two-of-three to GCU

Two one-run losses moves Sac State to 11-12


Dylan McNeill

Freshman outfielder Jeffrey Heard slides into second base safely after being picked off by Grand Canyon University pitching on March 27 at John Smith Field in a 3-2 loss for Sac State. Heard is hitting .257 with three homers and six RBIs on the year.

Dylan McNeill

For the fourth straight weekend, Sac State baseball came and won on Friday before dropping the rest of the series. 

This troubling trend has led them to a 3-6 record in the Western Athletic Conference. 

This weekend the Hornets welcomed the Grand Canyon University Antelopes who tied for the best record in WAC play last year and headed into the series undefeated with a 6-0 record in conference. The ‘Lopes left Sacramento at 8-1 in the WAC and remained in first place.

The Hornets have had a brutal month of March, going 4-12 on the month with all four wins coming on Fridays.

Friday: Hornets complete comeback 3-2 win with walk-off single

The Hornets delivered the first WAC loss of the season to GCU Friday night when sophomore Gunner Gouldsmith connected on a base hit that was just out of reach of GCU’s diving first baseman, sophomore Elijah Buries. 

Heading into the eighth inning, the Hornets were shut out by the ‘Lopes’ pitching but Sac State finally got on the board when senior Nick Iwasa worked a two-out walk with the bases loaded to score sophomore Jorge Bojorquez. That was all for the Hornets as the next batter flew out to end the inning leaving the tying run at third base. Sophomore pitcher Eli Saul went seven innings allowing just two runs as his earned run average now sits at 2.78 on the year. The Hornets have yet to lose a game this season that Saul has started.

“I’m just trying to give our team the best chance to win every time I pitch,” Saul said. “That’s the only thing I really have in mind– give our team six, seven innings, and a chance to win.” 

Another sophomore pitcher, Kevin Haynes, struck out the side to keep the deficit at one for the Hornets. Sac State loaded the bases in the ninth before the ‘Lopes’ could record an out–  thanks to a single by sophomore Cesar Valero followed by back-to-back walks. 

Bojorquez tied the game with a sacrifice fly to even the game at 2. Sac State manager Reggie Christiansen made the call to pinch-hit Gunner Gouldsmith who made Christiansen’s decision pay off with the game-winning hit, moving GCU to 6-1 in conference play while the Hornets moved to 3-4.

Saturday: Sac State held to just three hits, lose 5-2

The Hornets’ offensive inconsistencies were back in full force on Saturday as the offense struggled, only getting three hits.

“There’s too much talent on the roster to think we won’t hit at some point,” Christiansen said. “We’re not as far off as people might think.”

The lone bright spot for the Hornets was senior Keith Torres who went 1-3 with a double and scored both runs for Sac State.

Even with struggles to score runs, the game remained tied until the seventh inning when GCU’s senior third baseman Juan Colato gave the ‘Lopes the lead for good with a three-run home run. 

Hornet outfielder, Cesar Valero, extended his nine-game hitting streak with a single in the third as the Hornets’ loss made them 0-5 in their last five games on Saturdays.

“We just haven’t fully clicked as an offense,” Valero said. 

The Hornets’ manager Reggie Christiansen leaves the mound after a pitching change on March 27 at John Smith Field in a 3-2 Sac State loss. The loss brings the Hornets to 11-12 in 2022.
(Dylan McNeill)

Sunday: Hornets fall short yet again, drop series finale 3-2

Sloppy defense cost the Hornets Sunday’s ballgame as two errors in the fifth inning allowed GCU to get back in the game and once again the Sac State offense was unable to get the timely hit that they needed. 

The ‘Lopes took the lead in the sixth inning when a sacrifice fly gave GCU a 3-2 lead. Sac State went 0-6 with runners in scoring position including the last two batters to end the game and the series.

Valero moved his hitting streak to 10 with two hits on Sunday including a mammoth home run in the third inning, his eighth home run of the year. The home run was the Hornets’ only extra-base hit of the year.


“That one went on top of the structure–  that was pretty cool,” Valero said. “You don’t even feel the ball off the bat, you just know it’s gone.” 

In the weekend series, the Hornets managed just seven runs as they dropped below .500 at John Smith Field moving to 7-8 at home this season.

“The positive is that we were in all three games, our pitchers did a nice job this weekend and gave us a chance to win all three games.” Christiansen said. 

The Hornets return to action at home on Tuesday with a game against the University of Pacific before hitting the road for another conference series against Utah Valley in Utah where they look to win their first WAC series.