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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

Another weekend sweep for Sac State baseball in Irvine

Hornets snag dominant wins over USC and Santa Clara
Brionna Woody
Redshirt senior pitcher Evan Gibbons and sophomore catcher Jacob Cortez celebrating with the team after getting the final strikeout of the inning while walking into the dugout against California Baptist University on Friday, April 5, 2024. Gibbons has a total of 40 strikeouts currently this season.

Sacramento State baseball had another tremendous weekend against the University of Southern California and Santa Clara University defeating both teams in a weekend sweep to improve their record to an even 21-21.

Friday: Sacramento State 6, USC 3

Sac State beat another PAC-12 team in USC in their second-ever meeting, after losing to them last year on March 3. The Hornets changed their attitude after their midweek loss to Stanford by leaving the loss in the past and focusing on the future.

After a competitive three innings between the teams, the Trojans trudged forward to score their first run and take a 1-0 lead in the fourth when senior infielder Ryan Jackson hit a single to center field.

It didn’t take long for the Hornets to tie the game in the fifth when sophomore utility player Jaxon Byrd scored after senior shortstop Gunner Gouldsmith caused a double play.

USC fired back in the bottom of the fifth and took back the lead when freshman outfielder Brayden Dowd hit a sacrifice fly ball to center field.

Sac State stung back in the sixth when Byrd hit his first home run of the season for a three-run rocket to score senior third baseman Jorge Bojorquez and sophomore first baseman JP Smith.

The Trojans closed the gap with a single down the left field line in the seventh, yet the Hornets scored two runs in the ninth to grow their lead to 6-3 and got the final out on a strikeout to finish.

“We capitalized on a couple mistakes from the third baseman,” Sac State head coach Reggie Christiansen said of USC’s sophomore third baseman Ethan Hedges. “Jaxon hit that three-run home run and they couldn’t handle it.”

USC’s two errors in the fifth and sixth were to their own detriment because it led to Sac State taking over.

Byrd said he was happy that his family got to see him in such a big moment.

“I have a lot of family down here in SoCal and for them to be there to watch my first home run was pretty special for me,” Byrd said.

Byrd also said the team has to stay level-headed for the rest of the weekend.

“You gotta try to stay even keel,” Byrd said. “We gotta keep the energy up in the dugout to keep our guys going to let them know we’re behind them.”

RELATED: Sac State left seeing red in Stanford

Saturday: Sacramento State 12, Santa Clara 3

Sac State took on Santa Clara and had a double-digit scoring game where the Hornets established pressure early.

The Hornets took a 2-0 lead in the third with Gouldsmith grounding out to second base to score sophomore catcher Jacob Cortez and freshman second baseman Cameron Sewell hitting a single to score redshirt freshman left fielder Brett Ott.

The Broncos bucked back in the fifth with a double by redshirt freshman designated hitter Kai Cunningham to cut the score in half.

It was all Sac State from the bottom of the fifth to the eighth where they scored 10 unanswered runs while collecting 11 hits.

Smith smashed his 16th home run of the season, hitting the ball 375 feet to left field in the sixth inning.

Santa Clara only collected two runs in the ninth and couldn’t rally, losing to the Hornets’ pressure, and leading to a dominant 12-3 victory for Sac State.

Sunday: Sacramento State 5, USC 4

The final game was a competitive game, yet the Hornets still came out on top against the Trojans.

The Hornets scored four runs between the second and the fourth with two singles by senior right fielder Cesar Valero and Sewell.

USC climbed back into contention in the fourth and fifth with a single by Hedges and a sacrifice fly by freshman first baseman Dean Carpentier, closing the gap to 4-3.

Sewell’s clutch single to right center field got Sac State their fifth run in the sixth inning to extend the lead to 5-3, with the Trojans trying to come back.

Carpentier hit a single of his own to score Dowd in the seventh inning to cut the deficit once again for USC.

Sac State shut down the rest of USC’s offense by inducing four flyouts, two ground outs and three strikeouts with the final out being a strikeout, finishing the game 5-4 for their final win of the weekend.

“We had three really good games,” Christiansen said. “I thought it was overall a really good weekend.”

Christiansen said he was proud of his players on how they bounced back from their loss to Stanford and used that to fuel their wins this past weekend.

“There’s so many things we still need to improve upon individually,” Christiansen said. “I think this is really a great opportunity for us to focus on and get better next weekend.”

Junior center fielder Tyler White said he agrees with how it doesn’t hurt to go back to work on their skills.

“We have a few days of practice to take a step back from the games,” White said. “We can evaluate ourselves and we can improve on and get back to it.”

Sac State makes their return back home to John Smith Field against Tarleton State University on Friday at 4 p.m.

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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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