GREELEY, Colo. – For the second time this season, Scott Randall struck out 14, again matching the program record, and Sacramento State came away with a thrilling 4-2 win Friday at Northern Colorado.
Sacramento State (23-10, 15-6 WAC) turned to its ace for Friday afternoon's season opener and Randall, the right-hander from Rocklin, did not disappoint, striking out 14 over eight innings and earning his sixth win of the season.
The 14 strikeouts match a personal and program record for Randall, who punched out 14 earlier this season in seven innings against Dixie State. He and his former teammate, Parker Brahms, now a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, own the Sacramento State single game record, each having struck out 14 twice in their careers.
Randall struck out the side in order in the first before sitting down the Bears, 1-2-3, in the second. The only blemish on his line came in the third when Northern Colorado's Shaydon Kubo lined a two-run triple into the right-center gap.
After escaping the inning, struck out two more in another 1-2-3 inning in the fourth before striking out the side for the second time in the fifth.
After a base hit in the sixth, a double-play ball and fly out ended the inning. Randall struck out two more in the seventh and another in the eight, his third three-up, three-down inning of the day.
Taking the mound in the ninth, Randall ran into some tough luck as the Bears reached, in order, on an infield single, a slow roller up the middle, and a dropped third strike to load the bases with nobody out.
Sacramento State's ace finally gave way to the bullpen after throwing a career-high 114 pitches as head coach Reggie Christiansen called on Jack Zalasky to get the Hornets out of the jam. Zalasky inherited an incredible tense situation, but if he was feeling any pressure, he certainly didn't show it.
The right-handed reliever was brilliant in the ninth, striking out three straight batters and leaving the bases loaded. Zalasky picked up his second save of the year and saved an exceptional start for Randall.
Got 'em! Zalasky strikes out the side and leaves the bases loaded for the save as the Hornets win, 4-2. What a finish. #StingersUp #WACbsb— Sac State Baseball (@SacStBaseball) April 23, 2021
W: Randall (6-1), L: Rust (1-1), Sv: Zalasky (2) pic.twitter.com/83CAnIKlb4
Randall improved to 6-1 on the season while lowering his ERA to 2.73. He struck out 14, again matching the program record, and did not walk a batter. He threw a career-high 114 pitches, 87 of them for strikes (76%).
For the year, Randall has now struck out 71 batters against just four walks in 59.1 innings of work. He entered Friday's start third in the nation with a 14.25 K:BB ratio. That number jumped to 17.75, moving him into the top spot in the country.
Offensively, Sacramento State struck first on Friday, scoring a two-out run in the top of the first inning. With two away, Matt Smith singled, advanced to third on a Ryan Walstad double, and scored on a wild pitch.
After Northern Colorado tied things in the third, Sacramento State retook the lead in the sixth thanks to two solo home runs from both Dawsen Bacho and Martin Vincelli-Simard. Bacho's, his fifth of the season, proved to be the game-winner while Vincelli-Simard, who hit his fourth, added a valuable insurance run.
Sacramento State will look to turn its back-to-back wins into a streak when the Hornets take on Northern Colorado again in a doubleheader tomorrow, Saturday, April 24. The two teams will get started early with first pitch for game one set for 11 a.m. PT. Both games will stream live online on the WAC Digital Network with live stats available from UNC Athletics.
For the latest news, notes, schedule updates, and more, including direct links to streaming and live stats, be sure to visit the Sacramento State baseball schedule online at HornetSports.com.