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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

The lows of baseball present themselves to Sac State again

Hornets get swept at home by Tarleton State in WAC play
Malachi Parker
Senior right fielder Cesar Valero sliding into third base after running from first in the second inning at John Smith Field, against Tarleton State University Friday, April 26, 2024. Valero scored after a single by senior third baseman Jorge Bojorquez.

Sacramento State baseball returned home to John Smith Field after two weeks on the road and was swept by Tarleton State University.

Each game was competitive but it showed that the Hornets weren’t fully prepared when playing the Texans.

Friday: Sacramento State 3, Tarleton 4

The opening game of the series was a tough one showing the grit of both teams as they went into extra innings.

Tarleton’s senior designated hitter Cris Enriquez blasted a homer to right field to score their first run of the game in the second inning.

“He hit a pitch that was left over the middle of the plate, so what,” redshirt senior pitcher Evan Gibbons said. “It was a solo home run, it’s nothing that’s gonna hurt you.”

After that, Gibbons got two flyouts to center field and caught a batter window shopping to get the final strikeout of the second inning.

Redshirt senior pitcher Evan Gibbons fires a fastball in the second inning at John Smith Field, against Tarleton State University Friday, April 26, 2024. Gibbons collected seven strikeouts in his 6.1 innings pitched. (Malachi Parker)

The Hornets fought back and snatched the lead 2-1, with a single down the left field line by senior third baseman Jorge Bojorquez.

Sophomore catcher Jacob Cortez caused a fielder’s choice from the shortstop to score Bojorquez to add on to the score.

Everything seemed fine until in the sixth and the seventh when the Texans took back the lead 3-2, because of an Enriquez single and a double by junior catcher Sergio Guerra.

Sac State tied the game in the bottom of the seventh after sophomore utility player Jaxon Byrd hit his second home run of the season, hitting the ball 100 mph and sending it 352 feet.

“It was a good feeling to get that homer and tie the game up,” Byrd said.

This wasn’t the end of their troubles though, because the Hornets and the Texans battled back and forth with each other for seven more innings.

This was the longest game the Hornets played this season and only second time they have gone into extra innings since their 11-inning loss to Loyola Marymount University on Friday, Feb. 16.

RELATED: Another weekend sweep for Sac State baseball in Irvine

Enriquez hit another single to score a runner from third in the top of the fourteenth and Sac State couldn’t keep up, losing the game 4-3.

“I just think baseball is contagious,” Sac State head coach Reggie Christiansen said. It’s contagious when it goes well and it’s contagious when it doesn’t.”

Sac State wasn’t able to string any hits together when they really needed it most across those extra innings. They left 11 runners on base and had 14 strikeouts at the end of the game.

“There’s nothing to talk about. I don’t wanna make a big deal out of it,” Christiansen said. “It’s the same team that won 8/10, they just happened to not play good tonight.

Saturday: Sacramento State 2, Tarleton State 5

Sac State still failed to score runners in scoring position in heir second game against Tarleton with nine runners left on base and seven strikeouts.

The Texans again jumped out to an early lead in the fourth inning when senior third baseman Mason Hammonds hit a single up the middle to score runners on second and third base.

Sac State’s junior second baseman Jose Ruiz cut the deficit in half to 2-1, to score senior right fielder Cesar Valero with a sacrifice fly ball to right field.

Senior shortstop Gunner Gouldsmith striding towards the pitch at John Smith Field, against Tarleton State University Friday, April 26, 2024. Gouldsmith had a lackluster game against the Texans only getting one hit out of his seven at-bats. (Malachi Parker)

Much like in the first game the Texans scored three runs off of two singles by senior second baseman Cole Miears and Hammonds, growing the lead to 5-1 in the sixth and seventh.

The Hornets scored one more run in the bottom of the ninth, with a single up the middle by sophomore left fielder Brett Ott, but this was all they could muster with the final out being caught in center field, finishing the game 5-2.

“I think they’re a very well-coached team,” Christiansen said. “Their guy has their team better prepared than I do.”

Christiansen said the Texans played better in all three phases of the game.

“They’ve come in here two days in a row and been more competitive in every phase of the game than we have,” Christiansen said.

Bojorquez said that the energy was different compared to the first game.

“Today it was a different story, we kind of came out flat,” Bojorquez said. “They were just more ready than us.”

Bojorquez said the game plan is to be more aggressive with their at-bats to stop leaving runners on base.

Sunday: Sacramento State 6, Tarleton 8

Sac State lost the final game of the series, but not without a fight with the Hornets stinging early, but losing steam throughout the game.

Sac State held a 5-0 lead in the first, starting with a single by junior catcher Elie Kligman, scoring senior shortstop Gunner Gouldsmith.

After a fielder’s choice, a wild pitch and a single by Valero two more runs were scored to further the lead.

In the fourth inning, the Texans slowly climbed back into contention with a solo home run down the left-field line by Miears. They also scored because of an unearned hit-by-pitch to bring the score to 5-2.

Sac State kept the pace up, raising the score to 6-2 in the sixth with a single up the middle by Gouldsmith to score junior left fielder Matt Masciangelo.

Sophomore second baseman Cameron Sewell misses a fastball down the middle at John Smith Field, against Tarleton State University Friday, April 26, 2024. Sewell’s offense fell short only having one hit out of his five at-bats. (Malachi Parker)

The Texans rode in and rallied back in the eighth and ninth, scoring six runs beginning with a solo home run by sophomore right fielder Tyson Drake.

The Hornets then fell flat and hit into a double play in the bottom of the ninth ending the game 8-6.

Christiansen said they had opportunities to put pressure on Tarleton and hold the lead, but they still did not keep their energy high enough to finish the game on top.

“Right now we’re not able to maintain the focus it takes to play at a high level for nine innings,” Christiansen said.

Junior center fielder Tyler White said they lost focus after scoring the five runs in the first and thought it’d be smooth sailing.

“We kind of thought that was going to carry us through the game,” White said.

White said he feels they didn’t play with the right mindset going into the game and wishes they had the same attitude as when they played the University of Southern California.

“That’s the mindset where we have nothing to lose,” White said. “Tuesday is a good chance to get into that right mindset.”

Sac State took on UC Davis at John Smith Field for the third time this season and lost to the Aggies on Tuesday 3-2 in another contested game.

They now travel to Arlington, Texas to face the University of Texas at Arlington Mavericks on Friday at 4:30 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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