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The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

Student news without fear or favor

Sac State learns hard lesson against California Baptist University

A walk-off in the final game changes the Hornets’ perspective
Brionna Woody
Senior shortstop Gunner Gouldsmith hitting a line drive against California Baptist University Friday, April 5, 2024. Gouldsmith had no hits in his three at-bats but would induce one walk.

Sacramento State baseball got outgunned by California Baptist University on Friday and Saturday in a WAC series going 2-1 on the weekend at John Smith Field.

Friday: Sac State 0, California Baptist 1

Sac State lost the opening game of the series by one run. The game was uneventful with both teams leaving runners on base all day until the very end of the game.

The Lancers scored from a solo home run in the seventh inning from senior third baseman Mitchel Simon. California Baptist struggled to hold back Sac State.

The Hornets attempted a comeback in the ninth inning with a single up the middle by junior center fielder Tyler White. After a wild pitch White advanced to second, junior left fielder Matt Masciangelo laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance White to third.

Sophomore first baseman JP Smith chasing senior outfielder Garret Ostrander on a pick-off in the first game against California Baptist University Friday, April 5, 2024. Smith got the out after pump faking and tagging Ostrander. (Brionna Woody)

Senior shortstop Gunner Gouldsmith drew a walk to put pressure on the Lancers with runners at the corners. Gouldsmith stole second base in an attempt to draw a throw which would allow White to steal home and tie the game. This was not the result that came to fruition.

The Lancers shortstop, graduate Josh Paino, caught the ball early and threw out White at home. Sophomore JP Smith was the final out of the game, striking out looking and ending the game 1-0.

“I think it was good on both sides,” Sac State head coach Reggie Christiansen said. “Their guy just so happens to make a good throw.”

White wasn’t upset as he was taking a risk in a close game, but it didn’t pan out for them.

“It is what it is,” White said. “We learn from it and next time maybe something different happens.”

Saturday: Sac State 3, California Baptist 5

Sac State lost their second game against California Baptist in a competitive, yet discouraging loss.

The Lancers opened up a 2-0 lead in the third inning with two singles by senior right fielder Matthew Darr and senior catcher Michael Carpentier.

RELATED: Sac State regroups after a tough weekend in Phoenix

The Hornets battled back with three runs to take the lead 3-2, capped off by a solo home run by senior right fielder Cesar Valero.

California Baptist fired back when Paino hit a solo home run to tie the game 3-3 in the eighth inning. The Lancers then scored two unearned runs in the ninth to finish the game 5-3.

“Could we have won that game 3-2? Yeah,” Christiansen said. “Do we need to score more than three runs? Yeah.”

Christiansen said he always gets on the players to score more runs. He understands that the players are young and nervous on the field so it’s hard to perform under pressure.

“They know what’s at stake, they know where they’re at in conference,” Christiansen said. “It’s hard to get into the head of an 18 to 22-year-old kid sometimes.”

Sac State is currently 6-9 in conference, which ranks ninth of the 11 teams in the WAC standings tied with Utah Tech University.

Valero said he doesn’t know what it’s gonna take to take these conference games seriously.

“If I knew the answer I’d tell you,” Valero said. “That’s what we’re all wondering. We just gotta put things together.”

Sunday: Sac State 11, California Baptist 1

Sac State redeemed themselves with a seventh-inning walk-off to win their final game against California Baptist.

The Hornets stung early in the first inning with a double by Valero to score White from second and junior designated hitter Elie Kligman also singled down right field to score Valero.

Sophomore catcher Jacob Cortez then doubled down left field to score senior third baseman Jorge Bojorquez increasing the lead to 3-0.

Redshirt senior Evan Gibbons fist-bumps sophomore catcher Jacob Cortez after getting a strikeout against California Baptist University Friday, April 5, 2024. Gibbons pitched in eight innings and had six strikeouts. (Brionna Woody)

The Lancers made a comeback to lessen the lead to 3-1 from an unearned walked-in run in the fifth inning.

Sac State then blew out California Baptist in the fifth with two more runs with a single by Valero and a wild pitch to score White.

In the seventh, Sac State poured it on California Baptist with six runs scored by White, Valero, Bojorquez, Cortez and junior pinch hitter Jose Ruiz to walk off the game 11-1 and finish the series.

“They know what’s at stake,” Christiansen said. “I think they played a little bit more with an edge today.”

Christiansen said he wants his team to start playing like that more often because the team is tired of these conference series games with the same result of loss-after-loss.

Gouldsmith said he was happy with how the team came back after the two losses.

“Playing like we got nothing to lose is the best spot to be in,” Gouldsmith said. “That was kind of our motto coming into today and that’s gonna be our motto going into every other game.”

The Hornets will have a big midweek challenge against the No. 18 University of Oregon Ducks on Tuesday at 5:05 pm.

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About the Contributor
Kai Arellano
Kai Arellano, Sports Staffer
(he/him) Kai Arellano is a junior transfer from Los Medanos College, majoring in journalism. He has won fourth place in the 2023 State Publication Awards for Illustration presented by the Journalism Association of Community Colleges. This is also his first semester on The State Hornet. In his spare time he enjoys watching baseball and competing in mixed martial arts.
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