Weekend Recap: Sac State gets mercy ruled twice during first weekend in Lone Star State

Hornets off to 2-4 start in WAC play, drop series to Abilene Christian


Isaac Streeter

FILE: Freshman shortstop Wehiwa Aloy stands ready in the batters box March 8, 2023 at John Smith Field. Aloy was the leader of the Hornets offense this weekend, going 8-12 with one home run, two doubles and one three-bag-hit.

Isaac Streeter

The first weekend of a long road trip through Texas ends for Sacramento State baseball with back-to-back mercy rule games versus Abilene Christian University. The Hornets drop to a 2-4 record in WAC play and a 12-11 overall record. 

Friday: Hornets get lone win of weekend, beat Wildcats 8-4

Junior pitcher Jasper Nelson recorded his third start of the year, taking on the role of the Friday starter for Sac State. He threw five innings, striking out five and allowed four runs — three of which came on a home run in the fifth inning. The start was Nelson’s longest outing of the year. 

Head coach Reggie Christiansen says the right-hander will be penciled into those Friday starts going forward. 

Senior closer Jack Zalasky came into the game at the bottom of the eighth, recorded the final six outs and secured his seventh save of the year. 

At the plate, youth led the way. Two first-year students: catcher Jacob Cortez and shortstop Wehiwa Aloy each hit home runs in the second inning, giving the Hornets a lead they never relinquished. 

Cortez has seen an influx in playing time in recent weeks and earned the coaching staff’s trust, according to Christiansen. He also said Cortez will be the primary man behind the dish moving forward. 

“I had this gut feeling about 10 days ago that we had to give [Cortez] more opportunities,” Christiansen said. “He’s certainly taken advantage of them. Our pitchers really enjoy throwing to him… He’ll start to catch probably the Friday and the Sunday games in a conference series.” 

Saturday: Wildcats blank Hornets 10-0

Second-year pitcher Noah Lucchesi took the mound for his fifth start of the season. Despite being credited with the loss, Christiansen had a lot of optimism about the outing for the southpaw pitcher. 

“I actually thought [Lucchesi] gutted it out,” Christiansen said. “He didn’t have great stuff, but to go four innings and only give up three with as much traffic as we dealt with on the bases, I actually thought he did a pretty good job.” 

Lucchesi allowed eight Wildcats on base, giving up six hits and two walks. Despite the traffic Christiansen referred to, Lucchesi limited the damage to three runs across his four innings of work. He falls to 2-3 on the year. 

The bullpen struggled Saturday, with senior Trey Goodrich and junior Kevin Haynes conceding the other seven runs scored.

The Hornets were held scoreless for the first time this year and only recorded three hits: two from Aloy and one from sophomore outfielder Jeffery Heard. 

“We showed bright spots in some areas for sure,” Heard said. “[There are] places where we can definitely improve.”

Sunday: Hornets drop second straight game 20-5

Sac State came out firing on all cylinders Sunday, taking a 4-1 lead at the top of the third. 

Freshman first baseman JP Smith hit his third home run of the year and Aloy racked up three extra-base hits by the end of the contest. 

The gas ran out for Sac State at the bottom of the third inning. Sunday’s starter, redshirt junior Evan Gibbons, allowed seven runs before being relieved by junior Cooper Rons, who allowed three more. 

Three more pitchers: freshman Xavier Richards, sophomore Tyler Stewart and junior Wesley Harper made appearances in Sunday’s game, all three allowing multiple runs. 

The ten-run third inning was the highest-scoring frame the Hornets have allowed this year. Sac State’s pitching staff has only allowed more than ten runs in a game three other times this year in games against North Dakota State, Tulane and Central Michigan

The 20 runs scored by Abilene Christian were the highest total allowed by Sac State since April 5, 2022, against Nevada.