BELLEVUE, Wash. – Freshman Josh Thompson fanned 10 batters in just four innings of work and Austin Lively launched his fourth homer of the season, but the Seattle U baseball team succumbed to a late rally by Western Athletic Conference leader Sacramento State in a 6-2 final Saturday evening at Bannerwood Park.
The Hornets clinched the series with the win, moving to 23-12 on the season, 9-3 in WAC play. The Redhawks drop to 8-25 overall and 4-8 in league games.
Thompson, in just his third start of the season, was magnificent in the no-decision performance. The rookie got a ground out and two strikeouts for a 1-2-3 first inning. He would record a third straight strikeout to start the second before running into a bit of trouble as a trio of hits led to one Hornet run.
But Thompson would settle back in and not allow another run as the Hornets stranded three at the inning's end.
Thompson went on to record strikeouts for all three outs in both the third and fourth innings, before giving way to the bullpen in the fifth. He finished with 10 K's, one walk and four hits allowed.
"This was a very positive weekend based on playing the best team in the conference with the best pitching, and they take care of the ball really well," said Head Coach Donny Harrel. "We looked like we added another piece tonight with Josh's performance. Ten punch outs in four innings - he was outstanding."
The Redhawks jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the home half of the first as Jacob Prater sent the first pitch from Hornet starter Parker Brahms to the left field wall for a stand-up triple. Prater would score two batters later on a Connor O'Brien ground out.
Austin Lively gave Seattle U a 2-1 lead in the third with a solo homer to right, his fourth long ball of the season.
Sacramento State would tie the score 2-2 in the fifth on a bases-loaded passed ball, and eventually break things open with a two-run homer off the bat of Matt Smith in the eighth. The Hornets added two more runs in the ninth off a bases-loaded single into left field by Ryan Walstad.
Ethan Christianson tallied four strikeouts in three innings of relief, while giving up just two hits, but was strapped with the loss after surrendering the two-run homer to Smith.
"We ran all freshmen to the mound today which is hard to do in our conference to be competitive," Harrel said. "Ethan was really, really good, and he leaves one pitch in one bad spot and one of the best players in the league does what those guys do. We're still very happy with that outing. And we're happy with how our offense competed against this pitching staff. We had a chance to win this game and came up just short."
Lively led the Redhawks at the plate, going 3-for-3 with a run scored and a walk.
The Redhawks head back out on the road next week, beginning a four-game homestead at Arizona State on Tuesday, followed by a three-game WAC series at Grand Canyon Thursday through Saturday. For the most up-to-date information on game day, be sure to follow the Redhawks on Twitter at @seattleubase.