SERIES RECAP: Hornets take three from Utah Valley in first conference sweep

WAC play concludes for Hornets on Senior Day


Dominique Williams

The 2022 Seniors (L-R) Keith Torres, Trevor Doyle, Martin Vincelli-Simard, Brady Rodriguez, Dawsen Bacho, Brady Rodriguez, Steven Moretto and Nick Iwasa pose at John Smith Field on Sunday, May 15, 2022 as they were honored during Senior Day. “There’s a lot of memories you have with these guys,” Hornet manager Reggie Christiansen said. “Some of these guys have been here six years.”

Dylan McNeill

In the final Western Athletic Conference series of the year for the Hornets, Sac State captured their first full sweep in conference play after taking three from Utah Valley this weekend. The Hornets celebrated Senior Day as Steven Moretto made Hornet history as the new all-time school leader in career games played.

With conference play behind them, the Hornets now sit at 28-23 overall and 17-13 in the WAC.

Friday: Hornets storm from behind with five-run 8th inning, win 8-7

In his final WAC start of the season, it finally looked as if sophomore Eli Saul would be defeated. Saul has made 13 starts in 2022 and sits at 6-0. Sac State is at an absurd 13-0 in games pitched by Saul, but on Friday it seemed like this record would finally blemish.

Saul fought on Friday going 5.1 innings and striking out four, but was chased from the game after a two-run double by Utah Valley’s junior Cooper Hansen. Sac State was down 7-3 and the offense had just two hits to that point. 

The Hornets were fortunate to have two runs thanks to multiple base on balls courtesy of the Utah Valley pitching staff and a solo home run by sophomore Jorge Bojorquez.

In the eighth inning, the bats got to work as three straight singles to load the bases brought the tying run to the plate. Sophomore Josh Walker brought the Hornets one run closer when he was hit by a pitch. Back-to-back sacrifice flies made it a 7-7 game with two outs. 

A fielding error that led to a walk loaded the bases once again for Sac State, bringing up Hornet veteran and senior catcher Dawsen Bacho. Bacho shot a line drive through the other way as Walker and sophomore Josh Rolling sprinted home to give Sac State a 8-7 lead.

Senior Jack Zalasky took the ball in the ninth inning and got the final three outs to secure the comeback win, keeping Sac State undefeated in games pitched by Eli Saul.

“We’ve really come together well down the stretch here and we’re excited to see how things play out and it’s fun to win games especially like that, coming from behind late,” Zalasky said.

The bullpen had a tremendous bounce-back performance, going 3.2 innings of shutout baseball after a tough last weekend at Grand Canyon University. 

“There’s going to be some momentum coming into tomorrow on both sides,” Hornets’ manager Reggie Christiansen said. “You win a game like that you feel really good, you lose a game like that, it’s a tough one.”

Saturday: Hornets take series, win 5-2 as Moretto sets school record

Senior Steven Moretto set the all-time record for games played by a Hornet player on Saturday with game number 234. 

“It’s pretty cool man, just a kid coming from Canada, didn’t expect that coming down for sure,” Moretto said. “[I] just wanted to help the team win as much as I could.”

Moretto celebrated the occasion by going 1-2 with a walk, a sacrifice fly and a couple runs batted in; the type of game that has made Moretto a fixture in the Sac State lineup for years. 

On the mound, freshman Colin Hunter had one of his sharpest outings of the season, going 6.1 innings and tying his career high in strikeouts with nine. 

“It’s a tough season, got to stay tough on the mound and don’t give in.” Hunter said.

Senior infielder Martin Vincelli-Simard continued his hot streak, going 2-3 with two doubles and runs batted in. Vincelli-Simard has batted .400 in May with six doubles and nine RBIs.

Sunday: 7-2 win gets Hornet sweep on Senior Day

The Hornets kept the momentum rolling on Sunday, capturing the sweep and finishing conference play with a 17-13 record. 

Sac State wasted no time getting runs on the board, adding a run in both the first and second inning before scoring three runs in the third, which moved them up 5-0.

Utah Valley responded with a two-run home run in the fourth inning, but that’s as close as they got as the Hornets added runs in the fifth and sixth to close out the scoring of a crisply played game.

Sophomore Noah Takacs got the start, pitching four innings of two-run baseball before the bullpen went the last five innings.

The bullpen was stellar on Sunday as well, stopping a run in the five innings. The bullpen went 11.1 innings of shutout baseball this weekend; perhaps their best showing all year.

“Those guys out of the bullpen were good all weekend, we got to feel good about that and really starting to swing the bats well,” Christiansen said. 

The last Hornet run of the game was a solo home run by Vincelli-Simard, who was one of the eight Hornets honored post game in their Senior Day celebration.


“I’m up there with so many great athletes and students, as I’ve been for the past four years, it’s just really special, a great day.” Vincelli-Simard said.

While the sweep over Utah Valley marked the end of conference play, the Hornets have one more game this season at John Smith Field on Thursday at 6:00 p.m. against San Jose State before the WAC tournament which begins next Wednesday.

“Today was just a little different, you know, it’s one of the last times you’re suiting up with the white jerseys at home,” Bacho said. “But it felt good, especially to get the sweep.”