SERIES RECAP: Sac State rides offensive onslaught to series win over New Mexico State

Eight home runs help Hornets go 2-1 on the road


Dominique Williams

(FILE PHOTO) Sophomore Cesar Valero celebrates a home run with his teammates at John Smith Field Sunday, March 27, 2022 against Grand Canyon University. Valero tallied four home runs over the weekend and now leads the WAC with 12 this season.

Dylan McNeill

After being on the wrong side of a 20-5 blowout loss Tuesday against the University of Nevada. Sac State baseball was able to get back to their winning ways after a 5-7 start to WAC play on the road against New Mexico State.

The Hornets came out on top in a high-scoring weekend series as they were able to take an important conference series. Sac State’sseries win over the Aggies marks the second straight series win, and the Hornets improve to 15-16 for the season and 7-8 in the WAC.

“We’re starting to play better baseball all around; it’s really good to go on the road and win two series in a row,” head coach Reggie Christiansen said.

Friday: Hornets’ Friday dominance continues, top Aggies 6-5

The Hornets jumped to a 5-0 lead in the first inning of Friday’s game, and it seemed as if Sac State would cruise to their usual Friday victory as the Hornets’ entered the game 7-1  behind the arm of Sophomore right-hander Eli Saul.

Saul cruised through the first three innings retiring the first nine Aggie batters before New Mexico State added a run in the fourth inning and two more in the fifth.

Saul ended his evening going six innings allowing three runs, two of them earned while striking out four. Saul’s record improved to 4-0 with a tidy earned run average of 2.82. Saul has the lowest opponent batting average in the WAC, as opposing hitters have hit just  .208 against Saul in 2022.

New Mexico State cut the deficit to 5-4 in the eighth In the ninth, sophomore infielder Jorge Bojorquez gave Sac State a much-needed insurance run as he doubled home, senior infielder, Nick Iwasa. 


That run ended up being vital for Sac State, as New Mexico State tried to complete the comeback in the ninth. The Aggies brought one run home but Sac State closer, senior Jack Zalasky, left the tying run stranded on second to end the ball game. 


Saturday: Sac State’s turn to nearly complete comeback, fall short 10-9

Just as the Hornets did on Friday, New Mexico State jumped off to a 5-0 start in the second inning on Saturday. After losing six straight games on Saturdays, it would have been easy for the Hornets to hang their head on their way to another disappointing defeat, but the Hornets had other ideas.

Sac State got back into the game in the third, as they plated three runs to bring it back to a 4-3 ballgame. 

The Hornets then took the lead in the 5th thanks to a three-run home run off the bat of sophomore outfielder Cesar Valero. Next at bat, senior catcher Dawsen Bacho hit a home run of his own to give the Hornets a 7-5 lead.

New Mexico State answered right back as they scored three runs in the bottom half of the inning, punctuated with a two-run shot off the bat of Aggies sophomore catcher Logan Gallina to retake the lead.

In the seventh inning, the Hornets once again took the lead thanks to back-to-back home runs by Bojorquez and Valero, putting Sac State on top 9-8. Saturday was the second time this season Valero had a multiple homer game. In the bottom of the seventh, New Mexico State tied the game again at 9-9.

In the eighth inning, the Hornets left the bases loaded and were unable to take advantage and take the lead. 

In the ninth, Sac State left another two runners on base.In the bottom of the ninth, Zalasky retired the first two Aggies hitters followed by a single then a stolen base. 

Unlike the Hornets, the Aggies didn’t leave the runner stranded. The next batter, sophomore infielder Nolan Funke, walked it off with a base hit as Sac State lost its seventh straight Saturday game. 


“We’re not satisfied,” Bojorquez said. “We would have liked to come here to New Mexico State and Utah Valley and come out with sweeps, but we’ll take a series win; but, we’re not satisfied with that.” 

Sunday: Hornets outslug Aggies 14-6, take series win

The Hornets started the Sunday rubber match with a bang as Valero tagged a three-run bomb to open the scoring in the first inning to put Sac State up early. 

The runs came early and often for the Hornets on Sunday. They added runs in both the fifth and sixth innings to put Sac State up 5-1 before a four-run bottom of the sixth for New Mexico State to even the game at five apiece. 

In the top of the sixth, the Hornets roared right back with a four-run inning of their own capped off with another three-run homer– this time off the bat of senior first baseman Martin Vincelli-Simard to give Sac State a 9-5 lead. 

In the eighth inning, Valero left the ballpark yet again– another three-run shot for Valero was his fourth homer of the series.


Valero’s 12th long ball of the season leads not just the Hornets but the entire WAC as the Oregon State transfer has been a fixture of the Sac State lineup in his first year with the program.

“It means a lot to be able to help the team win, that’s all you ever want to do as a baseball player. The whole team put in work offensively this weekend, and I think things are finally starting to click for us as an offensive unit,”  Valero said  after his impressive performance over the weekend.

In the ninth inning, senior catcher Dylan McPhillips added his second home run of the year– a solo shot to extend the Hornet lead to 14-6. The score stayed as Sac State secured another WAC series win.

“The ball was flying pretty good with the wind, and there’s obviously altitude here on top of that so that’s different baseball,” Christiansen said.

Hornet baseball returns to Sacramento on Tuesday as they host Fresno State. First pitch is set for 6:00 p.m. and is available for streaming here.