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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

A return to prominence for Sac State in Arlington

Hornets regain momentum after series win against the Mavericks
Malachi Parker
Redshirt senior Evan Gibbons releasing a fastball at John Smith Field against Tarleton Friday, April 26, 2024. Gibbons is the only pitcher this season to pitch in a complete game.

Momentum is back for Sacramento State baseball after a series win over the University of Texas at Arlington, winning two out of the three games.

The Hornets look to stay in the top eight for the 2024 WAC Baseball Tournament.

Friday, Game 1: Sacramento State 13, University of Texas at Arlington 2

The series began with a doubleheader where the Hornets blew out the Mavericks, triggering the mercy rule in the seventh inning.

Redshirt senior pitcher Evan Gibbons pitched his first complete game of the season and of his career. He didn’t have any strikeouts, but he faced 27 batters, threw 83 pitches and induced 11 ground outs.

Sac State scored 1-0, in the third from a single to right fielder by sophomore first baseman JP Smith to score junior left fielder Matt Masciangelo.

The Hornets continued at 4-0 in the fourth, scoring three runs off of two singles by sophomore second baseman Cameron Sewell and senior shortstop Gunner Gouldsmith.

The Mavericks cut the score in half 4-2 in the fourth and the fifth inning, from a double by senior right fielder Tyson Pointer and a ground out to shortstop by redshirt freshman shortstop Jordan Medellin.

Between the sixth and seventh innings, Sac State scored nine runs to put UTA away, with two massive dingers hit by Sewell and Smith.

It didn’t take long for Sac State to put the final touches on UTA, with a ground out to Sewell to end the contest early 13-2 for game one of the doubleheader.

“I thought we did a lot of good things,” Sac State head coach Reggie Christiansen said. “Evan did a really nice job today.”

Christiansen said Gibbons saw openings in the offense of UTA and exploited them with well-placed and executed pitches.

“I’m just trying to go out there and give my team a chance to win,” Gibbons said. “I just try to be as consistent as possible.”

Gibbons said it wasn’t just his pitching, but the offense from the rest of the team gave them the route to victory over UTA.

“The offensive side went out there and put together some good at-bats,” Gibbons said. “Guys were ready to get back on the winning train and I think we took care of business.”

RELATED: The lows of baseball present themselves to Sac State again

Friday, Game 2: Sacramento State 0, University of Texas at Arlington 5

The second game of the doubleheader didn’t go well for the Hornets, as the Mavericks got their revenge by halting all of Sac State’s offense.

The Mavericks scored one run every inning from the fourth to the eighth starting with a single to left field by junior catcher Parker Airhart to score Pointer.

Pointer did the same thing in the fifth to score redshirt junior center fielder Garrison Berkley, extending the lead to 2-0.

Sac State continued to try and fight back, yet UTA’s pitcher redshirt senior Zach Norris held down the fort by striking out seven batters over the seven innings he pitched.

UTA scored three more runs in the latter stages of the game including an RBI double by Berkley in the seventh to blow the wind out of Sac State’s sails.

“We went up against a really good pitcher,” Christiansen said. “He did a nice job of shutting us down.”

Christiansen said it wasn’t anything crazy, it’s just how baseball works and they couldn’t find an answer to the pitcher.

“We showed up in game one,” Christiansen said. “Game two was just another one of those days.”

Junior center fielder Tyler White said he had similar feelings about the unpredictable nature of baseball.

“That’s baseball right there,” White said. “You can blow somebody out and get shut out in the next game.”

White said even though they got one win against UTA you can’t settle with being one-and-one against your opponent.

“We just have to go out there and win a series tomorrow,” White said.

Saturday: Sacramento State 7, University of Texas at Arlington 5

Sac State rebounded and won the rubber match of the series in a back-and-forth game between the Hornets and the Mavericks.

In the second inning, Sac State jumped out to a 2-0 lead off of two singles by Sewell and Masciangelo.

In the fifth inning, Smith launched his first home run of the game over left field to blast the Hornets’ lead to 3-0.

UTA fought back in the bottom of the fifth, scoring three runs, to tie the game at 3-3 with two doubles by junior designated hitter JD Moreno and sophomore second baseman Ryan Black.

A single by UTA’s redshirt sophomore left fielder Ryan Ellis gave the Mavericks a 4-3 lead as they put the pressure back on Sac State.

Smith launched another rocket over left field in the eighth, to tie the game 4-4 in the eighth inning for his nineteenth home run.

Smith is seven home runs behind former Hornet Harvey Hargrove for the most single-season home runs at Sac State who had 26 in 1997.

The Mavericks took back the lead 5-4 after Black hit another double to score freshman pinch runner Jackson Hill in the bottom of the eighth.

In the top of the ninth Sac State battled to score three runs in a two-out rally off of two doubles, by Masciangelo and Gouldsmith to overtake UTA 7-5.

The Hornets held down the bottom of the ninth getting the final out on a strikeout to end the game 7-5 and winning the series.

“We know we got three weeks left and every game matters,” Christiansen said. “Although we need to focus on one game at a time and they did that today.”

Christiansen said the team dug deep for this win and hopes they’ll continue to do so for their last three weeks of play before the conference tournament.

Sewell said they came out with more life off of yesterday’s doubleheader split with UTA.

“I honestly think we came out with better energy,” Sewell said. “Everybody had a better approach at the plate.”

Sewell said he thinks the rest of the team is finding a new attitude toward baseball after being swept last weekend by Tarleton State University.

“I would just say last weekend we had a close game talk,” Sewell said. “It kind of fired some guys up and made us look at things in a different perspective. So we’ll be ready when the time comes.”

Sac State makes the trip back home to John Smith Field for another series, against Stephen F. Austin 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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