‘We gotta get it going’: Sac State baseball drops two more conference games

Hornets sit one spot behind tournament eligibility in ninth place


Isaac Streeter

[FILE] (L-R) Freshman shortstop Wehiwa Aloy and junior third baseman Jorge Bojorquez set up on defense against UC Davis Tuesday, April 11, 2023. The left side of the infield started every game this series and combined to go 10-26 with four extra base hits including a home run each.

Isaac Streeter

After a massive upset of #9 Stanford last Tuesday, Sacramento State baseball traveled to Bellevue, Washington to take on WAC opponent Seattle University. 

The Hornets dropped their fifth conference series of the six they’ve played to keep their record at an even .500 for the second week in a row, but dropping to 7-11 in WAC conference play. Despite the loss, the Hornets outscored the Redhawks 16-14 on the weekend. 

Friday: Gibbons goes seven for second straight week in 6-0 shutout

Sac State took their lone win of the series with a 6-0 shutout win over Seattle, behind the arm of redshirt junior Evan Gibbons. 

“I thought we got off to a great start on Friday,” head coach Reggie Christiansen said. “Gibbons was really really good on Friday [with his] seven shutout innings.” 

Gibbons made the series opening start in place of junior Jasper Nelson, who was held out of the rotation this weekend with an undisclosed injury. Nelson will see the team doctor at some point this week, according to Christiansen. 

He threw seven innings, tying his career-high for innings pitched. Gibbons had previously set the record for himself last week versus University of Texas at Arlington. Across those seven, he only allowed four hits and held Seattle scoreless. 

The trend continued when junior reliever Cooper Rons took over on the bump, throwing the final two innings and completing the shutout without allowing a hit. 

On the day, Sac State produced more runs than Seattle had hits. Freshman shortstop Wehiwa Aloy went deep for the 10th time this season in the first inning. He tied Rhys Hoskins’ 10 homer season in 2012 for second place in home runs by a freshman in Sac State’s Division I history. 

The leader, Justin Lamb, hit 11 in 2009. 

Aloy went 2-5 on the day with both of his hits going for extra bases as well as picking up two RBIs. Seven of the nine starters in Friday’s lineup recorded hits enroute to the win. 

Saturday: Four run ninth inning too little too late in 10-7 loss 

A slow offensive start saw Sac State go into the top of the ninth inning down by seven runs. Quickly, on a collection of fielding errors and singles and walks, The Hornets hit through the lineup as they plated four runs. 

The rally ended where it began, with a final flyout by junior catcher Sam Gilliam who hit a single in the first at bat of the inning. 

On the mound, sophomore pitcher Noah Lucchesi made the start and threw three and two-thirds innings. Lucchesi allowed five runs, walked three batters and struck out three before being pulled in favor of the bullpen. 

Christiansen sent four relievers to toe the rubber as he pieced the game together and Seattle scored five more. Freshman pitcher Jaxon Byrd, who made his collegiate debut versus UC Davis and his first start versus Stanford, was the final pitcher to enter the game. Byrd pitched the eighth inning, striking out one without allowing a run, hit or walk. 

“[Byrd’s] been throwing the ball well lately,” Christiansen said. “It was a good opportunity for him to get some experience late in a game and he did a nice job.” 

Sunday: Hornets drop final game of series 4-3 on seventh inning home run

The Hornets only scored three runs in the series’ rubber game and recorded just one extra-base hit, a triple courtesy of Aloy who was also the only player on the team with a multi-hit game. 

The only other players to record a hit Sunday were freshman first basemen JP Smith, freshman catcher Jacob Cortez and sophomore outfielder Jeffery Heard. 

Making his second appearance on the weekend, Rons was given the ball to start Sunday’s game. It was his first collegiate start, and he said he wasn’t told he’d start until the night before. 

“After the game Saturday, [Christiansen] came up to me and said ‘you’re starting tomorrow,’” Rons said laughing. “I just said ‘alright, cool.’” 

Rons set a season high for innings pitched, going four and allowing just one run and striking out five. 

Rons was relieved by junior pitcher Max Pettey in the fifth. The lefty struck out four batters in two and one-third innings of work but allowed the game winning homerun in the seventh inning on the last batter he faced, Seattle’s catcher Jackson Lind.

“I might have left [Pettey] in one batter too long,” Christiansen said. “Kinda second guessing whether I should’ve had [senior closer Jack Zalasky] in the game at that point… but it was left on left with the nine-hole guy.” 

Despite saying he always wants the ball in those situations, Zalasky defended his teammate and agreed with the decision to leave Pettey in the game. 

“I always wanna be in the game, but I trust what we do on the coaching side,” Zalasky said. “I’d take [Pettey] over [Lind] any other day of the week, nine times out of ten [Pettey] gets him.” 

This Week

The Hornets will continue their road stint, taking on University of Nevada, Reno Tuesday . It will be the second time the two teams have played each other, with Sac State claiming the win earlier this season.

On Friday, the Hornets will stay on the road to take on WAC opponent New Mexico State University. The Aggies are currently 7-14 in conference play and sitting at 11th place in the WAC, while Sac State sits one spot outside of tournament eligibility in ninth place. 

“We gotta get it going and we gotta get it going quick,” Zalasky said. “I think we’re gonna get it turned around, but we don’t have a lot of time to do it.”