The Seattle University offense maintained its production throughout the afternoon, and the pitching overcame some defensive miscues to defeat Sacramento State, 10-7, Sunday in a Western Athletic Conference collegiate baseball game at Bannerwood Park.
With one out in the bottom of the first inning, Landon Cray (Chimacum, Wash.) singled, and Ryan Somers (Sammamish, Wash.) followed with a single that put runners on first and third with two outs. Brian Olson (Black Diamond, Wash.) came through with a key single to right field, driving in Cray with the first run of the game.
Andrew Ayers led off the top of the second inning with a solo home run to left field, \nd the next two Hornet batters collected singles, but Seattle U starter Andrew Olson (Enumclaw, Wash.) pitched out of the jam by inducing an inning-ending double play. In the bottom of the second, Cullen Hendrickson (Auburn, Wash.) doubled down the left field line, advanced to third when Sacramento State threw home to cut down Bryndon Ecklund (Elma, Wash.) trying to score, and came home on a grounder to shortstop hit by Cash McGuire (Kent, Wash.).
Ecklund led off the bottom of the fourth by reaching on a Hornet error, and Chase Fields (Ontario, Ore.) kept the inning alive with a two-out single up the middle. Cray sent a single through the left side of the infield to load the bases, and Nate Roberts (Silverdale, Wash.) hit 10th pitch of his at-bat through the left side for a single, driving in Ecklund and Fields.
In the top of the fifth inning, David Del Grande led off by swinging for strike three at a pitch that got away from Brian Olson, reaching first base. With two outs, Kyle Moses singled to left-center field, advancing Del Grande to third base, and Nathan Lukes would follow with a single to right-center field, scoring Del Grande to cut the Redhawk lead to 4-2.
Ecklund would once again reach base on an error in the fifth inning, and pinch runner Nick Latta (Tacoma, Wash.) would advance to third on a single to right field by Hendrickson. Sacramento State starter Tanner Mendonca would throw a wild pitch, allowing Latta to score Seattle U’s fifth run of the game.
The Redhawks seemingly broke the game open in the sixth inning, starting when Hornet reliever Zach Morgan hit Fields with a pitch. Fields would come around to score on a double by Cray, and Brian Olson would drive in Cray on a fielder’s choice in which the relay throw from second base on an attempted double play was off target. Steve Kirbach (Kirkland, Wash.) hit the first pitch he saw over the wall in right field for a two-run home run, his first one of the season, to extend the Redhawks’ advantage to 9-2.
Sacramento State (29-19, 12-9 WAC) fought back in the top of the seventh, as pinch hitter Scott Loper was able to reach third base on back-to-back Redhawk errors. Moses sent a double into left field that drove in Loper, and Ben Ruff (Fife, Wash.) came on in relief of Andrew Olson. Chris Lewis greeted Ruff with a three-run home run over the wall in left field, pulling the Hornets to within three at 9-6.
With one out in the bottom of the seventh, McGuire drew a walk, advanced to second on a single by Fields, and scored on a single to right field by Cray. Eric Yardley (Richland, Wash.) came on in the eighth inning and allowed an unearned run in the ninth, but he notched a strikeout to end the game.
Seattle U banged out 15 hits during the game, led by Cray’s 4-for-5 performance with two runs scored and two RBI. Fields, Roberts, Kirbach, and Hendrickson finished with two hits apiece for the Redhawks. Olson was credited with his sixth victory of the season, allowing nine hits and five runs, only one of them earned, in 6 1/3 innings of work.
The Hornets finished with 12 hits, including 3-for-5 efforts by Moses and Ayers. Mendonca took the loss after giving up 11 hits and five runs, two of them earned, in five innings on the mound. Each team left eight runners on base, and the two defenses combined for seven errors during the afternoon.
Seattle University (19-28, 8-12 WAC) heads to Husky Ballpark for the fourth and final game of the season series against the University of Washington this Tuesday, May 7, at 5 p.m. The Redhawks will then head to Bakersfield, Calif., to face the WAC-leading Roadrunners in a three-game series next weekend, May 10-12.