A first-inning run would be the only offense for Seattle University, as Sacramento State used a solid starting performance and two big innings to take the first game of a Western Athletic Conference weekend series, 7-1, Friday evening in collegiate baseball action at Bannerwood Park.
Chase Fields (Ontario, Ore.) drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the third and advanced to third base on a single through the right side of the infield by Landon Cray (Chimacum, Wash.). Fields would come in to score on a sacrifice fly to right field hit by Nate Roberts (Silverdale, Wash.) to give the Redhawks the early lead.
That would be the only run given up by Sacramento State starter Brennan Leitao, as he set down the next 14 Redhawk batters in order before walking Steve Kirbach (Kirkland, Wash.) to lead off the sixth inning. Leitao would allow just four hits in eight innings of work, striking out four Seattle U hitters and inducing two double play groundouts to help his cause.
Sacramento State (28-18, 11-8 WAC) would break through in the fifth inning off Seattle U starter Ted Hammond (Shoreline, Wash.), as Rhys Hoskins led off with a double, Nathan Lukes drew a walk, and Chris Lewis drove in Hoskins with a single to left-center field. Kyle Doyle (Covington, Wash.) came on in relief, but Andrew Ayers drove in Lukes with a double, and Will Soto laced a single to right-center field, scoring Lewis and Ayers.
Ben Ruff (Fife, Wash.) came on in relief and stopped the Hornet momentum, stranding runners in scoring position in both the fifth and sixth innings. He retired 11 of the 13 batters he faced, including four strikeouts, as he kept the Redhawks close with 3 2/3 innings of two-hit relief.
Hoskins earned his second double of the game to lead off the ninth inning, and Lukes and Lewis followed with consecutive singles that brought Hoskins in to score. After a passed ball put runners on second and third, Ayers drove in Lukes with a single to left field, and Soto hit a grounder to second base, giving Lewis the chance to score.
Fields and Cray led off the bottom of the ninth inning with back-to-back singles, but Sacramento State stifled the Redhawk rally by turning its third double play of the game. Seattle U was held to six hits and left only three runners on base.
Lewis led the Hornets with a 4-for-5 performance with two runs scored and two RBI, while Hoskins, Ayers, and Soto finished with two hits apiece. Of Sacramento State’s 12 hits, seven of them were doubles.
Seattle University (18-27, 7-11 WAC) will look to bounce back in the second game of the series against Sacramento State Saturday, May 4, starting at 2 p.m. Saturday’s game has been designated as “Adrian Day”, with proceeds from ticket and concession sales to benefit the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation.